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The Federal Capital i 

Neuchatel 20 

The Pays de Vaud 42 

Chillon . 61 

In Arcadia . 73 

The Valais 83 

The Dogs of St Bernard 100 

The Guides 106 

An Old Swiss Watering-Place . . . ,112 
Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago . . . .127 

The Lion of Lucerne 146 

Little Journeys from Lucerne . . . .164 

In the Land of Tell 188^ 

Einsiedeln 204 

The Bernese Oberland 220 

Canton Glarus 241 

The Lowlands of Switzerland .... 256 

The Protestant Rome . ' 269 

Winter in the Alps 276 

Winter Sports 293 




The Jungfrau 


The Bagpiper Fountain, Berne 

The Bruggler Fountain, Berne 



Vevey .... 

Gathering Narcissus at Montreux 

Chillon {Colour) 


Sign .... 

Marjelen See 

The Bonspiel Wengen 

Baden in Aargau 

Wasserthurm, Lucerne 

Old Bridge, Lucerne 

Lake of Lucerne 

The Nebelmeer, Rigi 

View from Summit of the Rigi 

At St Beatenberg . 

The Rink, Kandersteg 


To face 

page 4 
















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List of Illustrations 

The Lutschine 

The Lutschine 

Lake of Thun 

Kandersteg . 

Lake of Wallenstadt 

Lenthal (Glarus) . 



Ile de Salagnon {Colour) 


Pontresina {Colour) . 
Bobsleighing . 

St Beatenberg 
Ski-Jumping . 

To face 





















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Note. — The Illustrations marked Wehrli are from pictures supplied by 
Messrs Wehrli A. — G of Kilchberg-Zurich.l Those by Mr J. W. McLennan 
are inserted by kind permission of "Continental Travel Ltd." 


The Federal Capital 

One, we observe with pleasure, has sHpped out 
and is making off quietly ; but another is being 
conveyed with obvious gusto and deliberation 
by the ogre into his capacious mouth — the next 
instant you realise that the tender limbs will be 
cracked between his opening jaws. The whole 
thing is very realistically done. Horrible cannibal, 
who are you — some hated baron of the Ober- 
land ? No, the features are Jewish, and the 
group evidently relates to the legends circulated 
in the sixteenth century about child sacrifices 
by the Hebrews. 

A monument more pleasing to the Chosen 
People should be the Samson Fountain, which, 
like all these compositions, is full of vigour. 
The pleasant-faced giant is wrenching open the 
jaws of a lion which gapes as with astonishment. 
Samson seems about to extract a tooth. Then 
there is the fountain bearing the statue of the 
gentle dame Seller, the founder of the Insel 
Hospital, and the fine Renaissance figure of Jus- 
tice on the Gerechtigkeits brunnen. This dates 
from 1543. Younger by two years is the Archer 
Fountain, representing the gaily-uniformed 
soldier of the period. He is accompanied by 
a httle bear as his esquire. Bears ! Berne 
delights to honour them ! They meet your eye 
at every turn. Here is Bruin again, very fine and 
martial, armed cap-a-pie and upholding a banner, 
i He marches in procession, you will have observed, 



round the column of the KindHfresser ; he up- 
holds each comer of the monument to the victor 
of Laufen ; you will see him on the cathedral 
terrace acting as page to the bronze effigy of 
Berchtold of Zahringen. Feeling that she has 
not done enough to honour him, Berne has 
given him a new fountain all to himself in the 
Barenplatz. There, in white marble, bears of all 
sorts and sizes clamber and prowl round the apex 
of a column on which triumphantly stands the 
head bear, evidently king of the castle. 

Everybody, I take it, loves bears, and I for 
one can understand why the Bernese never tire 
of them. Since 1400 or thereabouts a number 
of these jolly animals have been maintained at 
the city's expense, just as the Romans have 
kept wolves and as we ought to keep lions. The 
French inhumanly carried off these wards of 
Berne, and one of them, Martin, unpatriotically 
condescended to become the pet of the Parisians. 
But in 18 15 the republic recovered its bears, 
and there you can see their descendants to this 
day, very properly housed in a commodious den 
just across the Nydeckbriicke. They are very 
fine beasts, and do credit to their masters and 
to the liberality of the tourists, who never tire 
of bombarding them with bread and carrots. 
The bears do not tire of being bombarded either. 
At times they will cHmb a pole for their admirers' 

entertainment, but they usually receive favours 


The Federal Capital 

prone on their broad, shaggy backs. They are 
good-tempered enough, but will not submit to 
insult. A good many years ago an English 
tourist, after copious potations of beer, thought 
it would be excellent fun to go down into the pit 
one night and give the oldest bear a scare. 
Bruin growled when disturbed in his sleep, but 
retired farther into his den. There the English- 
man was rash enough to follow him, and paid for 
his temerity with his life. It is only under such 
provocation that our friend the bear loses his 
naturally placid temper, which is usually main- 
tained on a vegetarian diet. These animals are 
still to be found wild in some of the mountain 
chains of eastern Switzerland, and even there 
they are barbarously persecuted. They are 
handsome, well-meaning brutes, and ask only 
to be let alone. The human race is not so 
interesting or amiable that we can afford to do 
without our four-footed brothers. 

A counter-distraction to the bear pit is pro- 
vided by the Clock Tower in the Kramgasse, now 
in the heart of the city, but in Berchtold's time 
its western hmit. It contains a clock built in 
1527 and restored about sixty years later. 
Three minutes before each hour a wooden cock 
crows and flaps his wings. The visitor's atten- 
tion having been thus arrested, a procession of 
bears armed with cross-bows issues from the 
interior of the clock and marches round the figure 



of old Father Time. The rooster again crows ; 
the hour is struck by a jester with cap and bells. 
Father Time raises his sceptre and beats time, 
turns his hour-glass, and opens his mouth, 
while a bear bows before him ; the cock crows 
for the third time ; and the exhibition is over 
for another hour. \\Tio would csLrry a watch 
when the time of day is impressed upon him by 
such agreeable devices ? 

It will have been seen that there is much of 
the musical-box, cuckoo-clock character about 
the capital of S\\itzerland, a sur\ival of the 
quaint, childhke humour of the Middle Ages. 
But the grimmer humour of those da}'s may 
be tasted in the wonderful Historical Museum, 
with its remarkable collection of headsman's 
axes, each of which has chopped off a hundred 
heads, and the seven hundred and fifty halters 
which Charles the Bold had thoughtfully pro- 
vided for the Swiss. These fell into the hands 
of his intended victims at ^lorat or Grandson, 
and are now proudly displayed among the 
banners, swords, lances and other trophies of 
those glorious fields. Seven hundred and fift}^ 
halters ! W^y not seven hundred or eight 
hundred ? One marvels at such precision in 
such a matter. Probably the duke decided 
that fifteen hundred Swiss would be a very 
proper holocaust, and economically allowed one 
halter for two men. 


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The Briiggler Fountain, Berne. 

The Federal Capital 

The piety of the hardy, haughty Bernese is 
1 represented by the Miinster, begun in 1421, 
and finished in 1590. It is largely the work of 
one of the architects of Strassburg Cathedral, 
and certainly reminds one of that famous fane. 
On the portal is illustrated the legend of the 
Wise and Foolish Virgins. It does not seem 
to have been taken to heart by the Protestants, 
who have swept the inside of this glorious church 
bare of all adornment and left no lamps shining 

The minster stands high and nobly above the 
Aar, here spanned by the beautiful Kirchenfeld 
bridge. Far below the river foams and eddies 
round rocks and the stout knees of washerwomen. 
The steep slopes are largely overgrown with 
gardens and plantations, and are less bare than 
when the startled horse of Weinzapfii jumped 
the parapet and was dashed to pieces below, 
leaving his rider sprawling but unhurt to live 
for half-a-century longer. 

The dignity of Berne is expressed in the 
white Federal Palace — Curia Confoederationis 
Helveticae, as the lettering over the fa9ade 
describes it — which rises so proudly above the 
Aar and seems to have caught some of the 
white majesty of the mountains opposite. Here 
since 1848 the Government of the republic has 
at last found a permanent habitation, after 
having been shifted from Baden to Frauenfeld, 



from Zurich to Lucerne, and back again so often] 
in the course of ages. Zurich surpasses all] 
other Swiss towns in population and wealth,! 
Geneva claims a vague intellectual superiority, 
but no one need dispute with Berne her political 
supremacy. Certainly it has brought her noj 
very substantial increase in wealth or power.] 
The representatives of the cantons come here 
to transact their political business as expedi- 
tiously as possible, and, I should judge, with as 
little personal expenditure. You may see groups 
of them lunching or dining at the railway! 
buffet, looking, some of them, as if they had! 
come straight from the plough. I doubt if the! 
institution of tea on the terrace is known to. 
them ; they would be shocked if their house of' 
assembly were referred to as the finest or the 
worst club in Europe. Republican simplicity 
reigns at Berne, if nowhere else in the world. 
Visiting the administrative buildings attached 
to the parliament house I noticed the word 
" Bundesprasident " (President of the Con- 
federation) inscribed over an inconspicuous door, 
just as you might see the word " Cashier " or 
" District Registrar." I called to mind how 
an important English railway contractor once 
knocked at this door and was answered by a 
man in shirt sleeves, whom he took to be a clerk. 
It was the President himself. In the hall of 
the Council of State I sat in this functionary's 


The Federal Capital 

chair, and, so far from rebuking my presumption, 
the attendant poHtely inquired if I was fatigued ! 
A sitting of the Swiss Parhament I have not 
assisted at. From the arrangement of the 
Chamber and the character of the representa- 
tives, I should imagine its proceedings to be 
dignified and business-hke. Here men come to 
make laws for the betterment of their country, 
not to discuss mediaeval precedents and play the 
party game. I wonder whether the art of 
blocking bills is understood at Berne, and if 
they know how to shelve measures passed by a 
majority of two-thirds of the House. But here, 
of course, the Cabinet is appointed by the re- 
presentatives themselves and has to respect 
their wishes. 

The importance of this pretty little city by 
the Aar is more than national. Close to the 
railway station I noticed a plate beside an in- 
conspicuous door bearing the words, " Union 
postale universelle." The Swiss capital is also 
the world's postal headquarters. Here are 
settled the colossal accounts which the nations 
run up against each other for money orders, 
telegraph charges, and the transport of parcels. 
The work in this international clearing house 
must be tremendous. A German waiter sends 
five shillings from a post-office in Soho to his 
mother in the Harz mountains, and sooner or 

later England and Germany must square ac- 
B 17 


counts here. Not less complicated must be the 
transactions disentangled at the International 
Railway Clearing House not far away. It is 
so easy a matter to book yourself or a bale of 
goods from Lisbon to Odessa. You never ask 
yourself over whose lines you are travelling. 
You paid your good money at Lisbon, and are 
free from further liability. And the price of 
your ticket must be divided up by a clerk at 
Berne between a score of different companies 
and governments in strict proportion to the 
distance you have travelled on the lines of each. 
See how these nations treat one another ! — even 
when they are at enmity, for here is the head- 
quarters of the society of the Red Cross, whose 
emblem will be respected when all other treaties 
and conventions have been torn to shreds. 

Berne stands for international comity, for 
the triumph of law and humanity above petty 
racial rivalries. Herself the keeper of a pact 
between three widely distinct peoples, she 
willingly acts as umpire and broker for the rest 
of the world. Her calm, practical adjustment of 
such vast European interests points the way to 
the unification of the nations. Since a world's 
postal union is possible, why not a world's 
customs union ? Since the nations have 
pledged themselves to respect the Red Cross 
flag, why not pledge themselves to respect aU 
flags and to refer their differences, as they refer 


The Federal Capital 

their railway disputes, to Berne or to The Hague ? 
Since German Cathohcs, French Protestants, and 
Itahan Free-thinkers can submit to one law 
because it is just, do not politicians and jour- 
nalists He when they dismiss the United States 
of Europe as an empty dream ? 



Neuchatel is a dull place with an interesting 
history. As you first see it from the train, 
thundering and whistling among the gorges 
of the Jura, it looks picturesque enough, seated 
by its broad expanse of lake. It forms indeed 
one of the finest approaches to Switzerland from 
the west. I remember that the unexpected 
beauty of the scene very keenly affected some 
of my fellow-passengers. There were a young 
Irish couple, for instance, who were so fond of 
each other that an elderly English lady doubted 
if they could be lawfully married. When they 
caught sight of the lake they clutched each 
other's hands, and the man, in a rich, soft accent, 
murmured something to the girl about home 
and the Bay of Dublin. Not wishing to disturb 
a love scene, I retreated into the next coach. 
In the little connecting passage which always 
reminds me of the pull-out part of a camera I 
nearly fell over a countryman in very loose 
flannels, stretched out at full length. I asked 
if he were train-sick. He gasped : " Leave me 
alone ! This beauty overpowers me." I per- 
ceived that he was an advanced person, and 


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was sure that he wore Jaeger underclothing. 
I left him alone, and hope he was not over- 
powered by the conductor, a man who, like Mr 
Kipps, would have sternly warned him, " No 
art ! " 

I wonder how this comparatively new type 
squares with the Continental conception of an 
Englishman, which remains pretty much Caran 
d' Ache's. The Jaegerish Briton is a creature 
of nomadic habits, and has, moreover, a fancy for 
straying off the beaten track, where the old 
convention lingers longest. The tradition must 
be rudely disturbed by these apparitions in 
sandals, jibbehs, art serges, and open collars. 
In certain quarters of Switzerland and Italy, 
to which friends of mine have penetrated, I 
expect to find John Bull represented by local 
art as a rather weedy Oscar Wilde chewing a 
young carrot. 

Had my travelling companions broken their 
journey at Neuchatel, as I did, their raptures 
would soon have moderated. The town is very 
yellow, and, as the French so expressively put 
y it, morne. The streets are broad and tree- 
lined, and very clean and quiet. There is, of 
course, an efficient service of electric tramways ; 
the station stands very high above the lake, 
which is rather unfortunate, as it might other- 
wise impart a little animation to the town. 



There is a jardin Anglais provided for us 
elegant islanders, and very neat, clean-swept 
quays. There is nothing else to do in Neuchatel 
but stroll up and down these, and inquire every 
hour or two if there are any letters for you at the 
post-office. There are one or two enormous 
hotels where you are set down all by yourself 
at a small table in the middle of the salle a 
manger, and sit hoping against hope for the 
appearance of some other traveller. If you 
stayed long enough, I have no doubt another 
would in due course appear ; but no one does 
stay long enough. 

I stopped at this melancholy place because a 
German friend told me that he had had the time 
of his life there. He was a very young and very 
German German in those far-off times (away 
back in the nineties), and was delighted to 
strum a guitar beneath the windows of one of 
the numerous girls' pensionnats or to go home 
from the cafe with other desperadoes singing 
part-songs and glees. I fear that he has since 
forgotten these simple joys, as young Germans 
do when they grow into prosperous London 
merchants and go down to the sea in motor 
cars and traffic in rubber and jungles. 

The pensionnats, of which my now opulent 
friend has such tender recollections, are very 
numerous at Neuchatel. The inhabitants pride 



themselves on their excellent French, and English 
girls are sent here in great numbers to acquire it. 
It is for their special benefit, I suppose, that the 
benevolent M. Suchard has established his 
chocolate manufactory in the suburbs of the 
town. These delightful Httle ladies collect pic- 
ture postcards of Phyllis Dare, and all hope to 
be like her some day. Their coming and going 
must keep the youth of Neuchatel in a perpetual 
agony of hopes and fears, and cause the native 
young ladies (who are rather homely) ecstasies 
of jealousy. I remember crossing the lake, once 
upon a time, from Morat to Neuchatel with a 
party of these schoolgirls, in charge, alas ! of 
their excellent mistress. They were of various 
nationaUties, but I noticed that two of them — 
I am glad to say the prettiest — had little enamel 
Union Jacks pinned to their blouses. In a coun- 
try like Switzerland, where people from all parts 
of the world meet at hotels or on steamers and 
trains, it seems to me rather a good plan to 
advertise one's nationality in this way — unless, 
indeed, you feel your own countr5nTien to be 
bores, as English people affect to do. These 
schoolgirls, so far from being bores, beguiled 
the three hours' journey by singing in chorus, 
and very well their high, shrill, rather thin 
voices sounded over the silvery waters of the 
placid lake. The evening hour, the swish of 



the water, the vision of the Alps, and these 
famihar songs, produced in me those emotions 
which are so deHcately rendered by Mr Chfton 
Bingham. Home-sickness, I have observed, is 
always acutest at what cyclists term lighting- 
up time. I suppose this is a faint recrudescence 
of the instinct of primitive man to seek shelter 
when darkness approached. You don't feel 
it when it is really night. A man is as little 
likely to be home-sick at twelve midnight as at 
twelve noon. English travellers subject to at- 
tacks of this disagreeable sensation ward it off 
by a hearty tea. 

Having nothing much to do at present, 
Neuchatel thinks and writes a good deal about 
its past. Most New Castles are very old, and 
this one is rather older than the New Forest. 
There was a count at Neuchatel in 1290, when 
he made an alliance with Fribourg. Later on 
he allied himself with Berne. The first brunt 
of Charles the Bold's ire fell on the county in 
1476. Twenty miles north along the shore of 
the lake is the little town of Grandson, with a 
fine old castle, with the warm, red-peaked roofs 
which once surmounted our English strongholds. 
The Burgundians took this castle, and the Swiss 
confederates, with whom marched a body of 
Neuchatelois, encamped on the heights to the 

north-east. The duke could not coax them 



down, so he marched out of the town and 
feigned a retreat. But when the horns of Uri 
and Lucerne were sounded close at hand, the 
retreat became a real one, and presently a rout, 
in which the Swiss captured enormous booty. 
In fact this victory, says a Swiss historian, was 
the richest in spoil ever gained by any people. 

Charles, as we know, did not lose heart, but 
collected another army, determined this time to 
wipe these pestilent mountaineers out of exist- 
ence. A mile south of Morat you may see the 
marble obelisk which marks the place of Switzer- 
land's crowning victory. In the little town 
itself is another castle, wherein the confederates, 
under Adrian von Bubenberg, resisted the in- 
vaders for eleven days. On 22nd June 1476 
the Swiss army advanced to the relief. The 
advanced guard was forced back by the Bur- 
gundians, who pursued them towards the forest, 
and posted themselves behind quickset hedges. 
The main body of the confederates came up, 
and after a desperate struggle drove the enemy 
from their shelter into the plain to the south- 
ward. The rain poured down pitilessly, and not 
less pitilessly the combat was continued. The 
Burgundians gave way, leaving from eight to ten 
thousand men dead on the field. All the bells 
were rung joyously from Neuchatel to the abbey 
of St Gall. 



In 1504 the countship of Neuchatel passed by 
inheritance to Louis d' Orleans, due de Longue- 
ville. Eight years later, while France was at 
war with the confederation, the territory was 
occupied by the Bernese. The circumstance 
was of great importance to the Neuchatelois, 
for at the close of this temporary domination, 
Farel, the religious reformer, was able to 
introduce Protestant doctrines into the 

The canton is not to be congratulated upon its 
apostle. Erasmus said that he had never met 
a man more false, more violent, or more seditious 
than Farel, who was nearly torn to pieces at 
Montbeliard for having wrenched an image from 
a priest and thrown it into the river. Another 
reformer begged this zealot to be an evangelist 
and not a tyrannical legislator. He seems 
to have followed this advice for a time, and 
resorted to " pious frauds " to beguile the Swiss 
from their ancient faith. He spent his declining 
years at Neuchatel, and astonished everyone 
by taking a wife at the age of seventy. He was 
very urgent, we read, with monks and nuns to 
break their vows. His indulgence of the weak- 
ness of human nature did not extend to heresy, 
and he was an accomplice of Calvin in murdering 
Serve tus. However, these indiscretions do not 
appear to have shaken the faith of the Neu- 



chatelois in his doctrines, which are professed 
(and we hope not practised) by 100,000 out of a 
population of 126,000. 

In 1530 the territory was recovered by the 
Longuevilles. The overlordship had passed to 
the Dutch branch of the house of Orange, by a 
deed executed as far back as 1288. In the year 
1532, Neuchatel was erected into a principality, 
and in 1648 was recognised, like the rest of 
Switzerland, as outside the Empire. Now in 
1707 the house of Longueville came to an end 
in the person of Marie de Nemours. There were 
fifteen claimants of the vacant diadem ; but 
the chancellor, MontmoUin, got the Council of 
State to decide in favour of Frederick I., King 
of Prussia, to whom William III. of England, 
the last of the suzerain house of Orange, had 
transferred his rights on his death five years 
before. The Prussian king was chosen mainly 
because the other claimants were all Catholics. 

Neuchatel, though a principality under a 
foreign king, continued to be an aUy of Berne 
and Fribourg, and practically a member of the 
Swiss confederation. In 1806 it was ceded by 
Frederick William III. to Napoleon, who be- 
stowed it upon Marshal Berthier. The new 
prince never once set foot in his dominions, 
but entrusted them to a governor named M. de 
Lesperut. This gentleman, we are told by a 



local historian, " passed his time in the salons 
of the Neuchatelois nobility. The ladies of 
that castle still recall the distinguished manner 
in which he read Corneille and Racine ; but the 
country was at the mercy of a few nobles, who 
did not forget to remind the people that the 
sovereign being the humble servant of a despot 
could only be a despotic prince, and that they 
being the servants of that servant, were to act 
as their master and the master of that master." 
The King of Prussia had forgotten all about 
his remote appanage when in 1814 the nobility 
aforesaid sent a deputy to congratulate him 
at Bale and to request him to resume his 
sovereignty. This he did, at the same time 
acquiescing in the formal incorporation of Neu- 
chatel within the confederation. A strange 
idea for the King of Prussia to be a member of a 
republican union ! As his Majesty had no time 
or inclination to bother himself about the affairs 
of Neuchatel, the government fell entirely into 
the hands of the aristocracy, who continued the 
policy of Berthier's day. In 1831 the people 
began to growl. On the night of 13th Septem- 
ber a force of about three hundred conspirators, 
led by a young man named Bourguin, sur- 
rounded the castle and occupied it without 
resistance. The Council of State appealed for 
help to Berne, and the federal authorities took 



possession of the stronghold. The electors were 
consulted and pronounced for a continuance of 
the monarchy. 

During the next sixteen years the conflict 
waged between republicans and royalists. Life 
did not wear the tranquil aspect it does now in 
Neuchatel. But in 1847 the canton committed 
the mistake of refusing to help the central 
Government against the Sonderbund. It pre- 
ferred to remain neutral, as did Kentucky in 
1861 and as Cape Colony wished to do in 1899. 
It was fined five hundred thousand francs. Sure 
now of the support of the federal authorities, 
the republicans rose at Le Locle in February 1848, 
and, under the leadership of A. M. Piaget, forced 
the princely Government to surrender its powers. 
The canton became a republic, like all its sisters 
of the confederation. 

His Prussian Majesty had his hands full at 
home, and could do nothing just then to pre- 
vent this subversion of his authority. In 1852, 
however, he persuaded the other powers to 
renew their recognition of him as Prince of 
Neuchatel, and encouraged his partisans to 
assert his rights. On 2nd September 1856 a 
band of royalists, headed by the Count de 
Pourtales, suddenly attacked and seized the 
castle of Neuchatel, just as the republicans had 
done in 183 1. They issued proclamations calling 



on the people to rally round them and uphold 
their legitimate prince. The republicans in the 
mountain district immediately took up the 
challenge and besieged the castle. They were 
joined by the federal troops, who on 4th Septem- 
ber drove the royalists from their stronghold 
with a loss of twelve killed and a hundred 

The leaders of the revolt were, it was an- 
nounced, to be put on their trial for high treason. 
The King of Prussia, who had not minded very 
much the loss of his sovereignty, was not pre- 
pared to stand the punishment of his faithful 
adherents. He threatened the confederation 
with war unless Pourtales and his followers 
were set at liberty. The federal council refused 
unless Prussia first formally renounced her 
right to the canton. Napoleon III., whose 
good offices Switzerland had invoked, recom- 
mended the liberation of the royalists ; but the 
republic stood firm. Prussia got leave from 
the south German states to march her armies 
through them to attack Switzerland, and the 
Swiss mustered an army of 100,000 men under 
the veteran Dufour. But Napoleon, on 8th 
January 1858, persuaded the obstinate federals 
to give way, and to content themselves with 
exiling the royalist rebels. In return for this 
concession, by a treaty signed at Paris on 20th 



April, Prussia renounced all rights to the canton. 
Switzerland paid the king an indemnity of a 
million francs, and granted an annuity to all 
concerned in any way in the late troubles. 

And so this anomaly of a king being a member 
of a republican federation and of a principality 
forming part of a republic came to an end. 
It was well indeed for federation and canton 
that it did so, as the Neuchatelois must have 
gratefully reflected when war broke out in 1870 
between France and their former suzerain. It is 
not likely that the French would have respected 
the neutrality of their enemy's principality, and 
an invasion of the King of Prussia's Swiss 
appanage would have meant war with the whole 
of Switzerland. The danger they escaped was 
brought still more vividly to the mind of the 
people of the canton when Bourbaki's army, 
broken and defeated, was hurled back against 
their frontier at Pontarlier and Les Verrieres, 
and demanded an asylum in Switzerland. Such 
a demand could hardly have been granted by the 
vassals of Prussia, and if it had been, assuredly 
the Prussian army would have followed the 
fugitives and attacked them on Swiss soil. 
Count Pourtales showed such unpatriotic want 
of foresight that he did not deserve that one of 
the best streets in Neuchatel should be named 
after him. 



Of the horrors of that awful retreat across 
the invisible and intangible barrier of the frontier 
I have read no more vivid description than that 
given by Paul and Victor Margueritte in their 
novel, " Les Troncons du Glaive." 

" The evening of the 31st, Clinchant reached 
Les Verrieres, where he found the artillery and 
baggage waggons collected amid an ever- 
increasing swarm of scattered troops and de- 
serters. From the French to the Swiss village, 
negotiations passed between him and General 
Hertzog, commanding the federal army, and a 
convention was arranged. Disarmed at the 
frontier, the men were to proceed to the places 
that should be appointed, the officers keeping 
their swords, guns and treasures to be con- 
fided to the safe keeping of Switzerland. The 
signatures having been exchanged, the troops 
immediately began to cross the line. They 
had been waiting since the preceding evening 
in the snow. 

" Through the darkness, the tragic defilade 
began. B}^ the narrow defile behind Pon- 
tarlier, by the roads of Les Verrieres and Les 
Fourgs, by the narrowest fissures in the moun- 
tains, the compact stream poured, flowed, and 
trickled. What remained of the 15th, 20th, 
and 24th corps, a confused mob of infantry, 
horsemen, gunners, and waggons like moving 



barricades, was heaved forward in a black 
torrent, dense and continuous. But, covering 
the retreat, in the defile of La Cluse, between 
the fort at Joux and the battery in the snow 
at Larmont, the roar of the cannon, the furious 
rattle of musketry was heard once again. The 
Prussian advance - guard, after crossing Pon- 
tarher, took four hundred waggons loaded with 
provisions, and rose up before the defiles. Ming- 
ling with the convoy, they attacked Pallu de 
la Barriere's division, the general reserve, under 
cover of which the i8th corps, forming the 
rear-guard, was then retreating. Two of its 
regiments made a half-circle, and hastened to 
join the reserve, the only troops which, out of 
the hundred thousand men who set out from 
Bourges and Lyons, kept up heart. 

" These at least were heroes. For seven hours 
they tramped through blood and snow, striding 
over corpses, step by step to make their way. 
Officers and men vied with each other. Pallu's 
infantry asked him : ' Are you satisfied, 
General ? ' Lieutenant - Colonel Achilli fell 
bravely. To a flag of truce endeavouring to 
persuade him that he had no choice but to yield, 
General Robert answered : ' There is still death 
remaining.' Until night-fall, thundering from 
Joux and crackling from La Cluse, the cannon 
and the musketry covered the parting of the 
c 33 


roads, and the retreat of the artillery, proclaiming 
that in this disaster honour was not altogether 
shipwrecked ! 

" Nearly ninety thousand men had already 
been thrown on to Swiss soil. The procession 
had lasted two days. From one twilight to the 
other, all night long, and again on the morrow, 
across the slopes white with snow, the dark 
stream flowed down, inexhaustibly. With a 
slow relentless impulse, the waves starting at 
the rear pushed on unceasingly, driving the 
others before them. Between hedges of the 
federal troops, motionless, leaning on their 
arms, the tide flowed ever onwards. For the 
last to enter, the first must march for leagues and 
hours. Thrown, as they passed, in two enormous, 
piles on each side of the road, were heaped 
up rifles, ammunition, sabres, revolvers, and 
pouches. Lances, thrust into the ground, 
bristled Hke a leafless forest. Nothing was 
heard along the whole length of the moving 
line, but a complaining murmur raised by 
thousands of dry coughs. Nearly all werer 
limping, with bleeding and swollen feet ; be- 
neath the unkempt hair, shaggy faces showed! 
eyes that gleamed like madmen's. Theyl 
shivered in rags that swarmed with vermin.l 
At intervals there passed by waggons and' 
horses ; with the flesh worn off their bones, 



many having been saddled for weeks — living 
ulcers with manes and tails eaten away; so 
hungry were they that they gnawed the wood 
at the back of the waggons. 

" At this sight the inhabitants, assembled by 
hundreds, their hands laden with gifts, began 
to weep. Hastening from the towns, villages 
and solitary huts, they brought clothing, bread, 
money, drink and meat. The very poorest 

I " Into great wooden troughs overflowing with 
warm milk, bowls held at arm's length were 
plunged in turn without ceasing, filled, and ^ 
emptied at a draught. Sometimes by the roadside 
fell the dying, senseless, mute ; they were raised 
up kindly. Barns and stables soon were full, 
and at a distance in the plain, the schools and 
churches. A boundless charity held out its 
arms, touched to compassion by this flood of 
horrors, such as man never remembered to have 

The horses so hungry that they gnawed the 
backs of the waggons ! Nothing is so horrible 
in horrible war as the sufferings of the animals 
who are its absolutely involuntary, innocent 
victims. I confess the wrongs inflicted on horses 
and cattle during our South African campaign 
affected me more poignantly than the hard- 
ships endured by the men. And by a heart- 



less paradox the humanities of war, extended 
under the Red Cross to the most guilty of human 
combatants, are denied to these helpless ir- 
responsible non-combatants. Perhaps such a 
scene as the French novelists have described 
might have done good to our journalists who 
sneer at dreams of peace among the nations 
and exert themselves to foment national 
jealousies. Most of these gentry have never 
seen, and don't intend to see, a shot fired in 
anger, it is to be noted. 

While staying at Neuchatel I walked out to a 
little place on the lake called Auvernier, where 
I had an excellent tea at an inn called the | 
" Poisson." This was the reward but not the ob- 
ject of my excursion, which had been to inspect ' 
the far-famed lake-dwellings of Auvernier. For 
if the fisherman on the Lake of Neuchatel does 
not see " the round towers of other days in the 
wave beneath him shining," he may bump his 
keel at low water on the piles which supported 
the villages of an even remoter generation. 
The lake, in times beyond the ken of history, 
seems to have been studded with these strange 
abodes of primitive man. No less than fifty 
" villages " have been counted. 

It was probably not on the score of health 
that the lake-dweller chose to fix his habitation 
on the waters ; nor was it that craving for ! 



luxury, against which the genial Horace 
thundered and which moved the Roman pluto- 
crat to build his villa out among the lapping 
waves until even " the fishes felt the ocean 
shrink." Protection against a neighbouring 
tribe was all that was craved of the old stone- 
man, an ark among the bulrushes where he might 
be safe from his hereditary foe. And so he set 
to work laboriously to hew down trees, to 
sharpen their trunks and drive them as stakes 
into the mud at the bottom of the lake, but- 
tressing them with loose heaps of stones. On 
these he laid horizontal beams of wood and 
twisted stems, and lo ! a spacious platform 
above the water some few hundred feet from 
land, from which the Neolith might with im- 
punity hurl insults at his less ingenious neigh- 
bour on the shore. Then came the speculative 
builder, and erected what the skin-clad 
auctioneer no doubt described as " highly desir- 
able modern residences." Their walls were 
wattle-work bound together with clay. Reeds 
or rushes from the lake, the bark of trees, and 
straw (probably pilfered from a hostile clan) 
went to the making of the roof. The floor was 
clay, with flat stone slabs let in to form the 
hearth. Of doors and windows we have no 
details ; the latter probably were lacking. 
The dwellings varied considerably in size, reach- 



ing at times the palatial proportions of twenty- 
seven by twenty-two feet. 

The lake man did not love to dwell alone. 
Each platform seems to have been thickly 
crowded with huts, with only about three feet 
of space between. Here he lived with his wives 
and his sons and his daughters, his uncles and 
his cousins, his oxen and his asses, in emulation 
of Noah. Probably, stabled in the lake below 
him he kept his pet hippopotamus, or behemoth, 
or whatever were the prehistoric equivalents of 
the Persian cat and the Pekinese. 

The watery stronghold has always been dear 
to the heart of the Celtic peoples. In Ireland it 
persisted well into the sixteenth century, and in 
the wilder Scottish Highlands are scattered evi- 
dences that it was not despised by the chieftains 
of Ossian and Fingal. These lacustrine Venices 
in times of peace were often connected with the 
strand by a long and narrow gangway, built 
so that it might easily be destroyed when the 
war-note sounded over the hills. Then when 
there were things a-doing on the mainland the - 
prehistoric warriors, at dead of night, would i 
shoot silently over the waters in long canoes i 
of bark, deftly steering among the shadows oni 
the lake to elude a watchful eye. One of these 
canoes has been found deeply embedded in the - 
mud at the bottom of Lake Neuchatel. A curious i 



structure it is, forty feet in length by only 
four in breadth, hollowed out of a tree- trunk. 
The lake-dweller must have had the skill of 
an Oxford blue to sail so frail a craft in safety. 

The settlements at Auvemier tell of two 
remote societies. One dates back to the age 
of stone, the other to the days when men first 
learned the art of Tubal-Cain and fashioned 
their implements of bronze. This is the more in- 
teresting and the richest in relics. Only twelve 
feet below the surface of the lake it lay for 
thousands of years, unsuspected of the fishermen, 
guarding the secrets of " old forgotten far-off 
things, and battles long ago." To the archae- 
ologist it speaks of a race of beings, intelligent, 
highly socialised, not lacking in culture. They 
practised agriculture, and knew several varieties 
of wheat and barley. They spun linen, flax and 
wool, which supplemented the skins of beasts 
as clothing. Their food and houses seem to 
have been superior to those of more historic 
times. The pottery that has been recovered 
is fine in texture, and of an elegant shape, 
ornamented with waving lines that recall the 

As might be expected, most of the relics 
dredged up from the submerged villages are 
implements of warfare. There are spear-heads 
in stone and bronze, axes, sickles, knives and 



hammers that have been lodged in the museum 
at the little town of Boudry — Marat's birth- 
place — on the road from Neuchatel to Lausanne ; 
and most important of all from the archaeologist's 
point of view are six bronze swords, all richly 
chased, which prove their masters to have 
achieved some distinction in the art of warfare. 

It is curious that of all the hundreds of the 
lake-villages of Switzerland not one has yielded 
what can be regarded as a religious relic. There 
has been found nothing approaching an idol or 
an image. Can it be possible that the primitive 
men of the Stone and Bronze ages were un- 
trammelled by the superstitions that have 
weighed down primitive peoples from the dawn 
of history to the present day ? 

But in other respects at any rate they were 

strangely like their far-off descendants. They 

had their little vanities. Rings and twisted 

necklaces have come to light, and bracelets 

enough to delight our Saxon forefathers. Beads 

of stone and amber, and very rarely of silver, 

adorned the daughters of the race. But most 

common article of all are — hairpins ! Unlike 

the modern article, these are elaborate affairs 

of bronze, their heads ornamented with plates 

and bands of gold. In length they sometimes 

measure sixteen inches, and at a crisis I can 

imagine their fair owners using them as a 



formidable weapon to revenge some insult offered 
by their lovers. I like to think of these pre- 
historic women, with vigorous bodies and sun- 
tanned flesh, fastening these barbaric bodkins in 
their long hair with conscious coquetry; and 
I like to think of the dusky evenings in old 
Helvetia, when the lake-dwelling warrior made 
his primeval courtship while the water rippled 
through the rushes, and the winds ruffled the 
violet shadows on the lake. And over all the 
stars shone on the eternal snows and on the 
eternal passions of humanity. 



In the early dawn of my childhood I heard a 
voice, unrecognisable now, singing of the 
" beautiful Pays de Vaud." I thought it would 
be pleasant to go to that country, where, I 
gathered. Nature, a great green kindly lady, 
sat with an open picture-book on her lap, ready 
to show it to all comers. Nearly twenty years 
passed before my desire was fulfilled, and 
though the Pays de Vaud is indeed beautiful, 
it fell very far short of the country of my 
childish imagining. But I can say as much, 
unfortunately, of other and wider realms than 
the country of Agassiz. 

I think the glamour in this instance must have 
worn thin very early, for I certainly felt no 
thrill of hope or exultation as I rode one autumn 
morning for the first time across the rivulet 
which divides the canton of Neuchatel from the 
canton Vaud, and struck southwards past the 
peaked towers of historic Grandson, along the 
shore of the placid lake. Montreux was my 
destination, and I knew that a stiff climb lay 
between me and Lausanne. Yet I spared an 
hour to Yverdon, where the statue of Pestalozzi 
looks towards the old Burgundian chateau in 


1 » 1 J > J > 

» J ; > 

I'l ?'. •, 

The Pays de Vaud 

which he carried out his system of education. 
The Httle town wore a martial rather than a 
scholastic air just then. Its three streets re- 
echoed to the tramp of the soldier-citizens, 
while guns limbered up rumbled past as though 
an enemy's camp fires lit the Jura. The state 
of the country roads had already reminded me 
that a state of mimic war prevailed around 
Yverdon, and that the confederation was ex- 
ercising her sons in arms. They looked smart, 
alert and formidable, these Helvetic infantrymen, 
in whose caps it seems strange to see the cross 
the soldier of other lands has learnt to associate 
with peace and mercy. Leaving the din and 
circumstance of glorious war behind, I pushed 
on past the quiet little spa and casino of Yverdon, 
well suited by its leafy tranquillity for nervous 
folk, and saw rising before me the black and 
cloudy uplands of the Pays de Vaud. I had 
chanced upon a blank page in Nature's picture- 

As I toiled up those endless winding ascents 
I had time to think over the history of the land, 
and, finding I knew so little about it, to promise 
myself further instruction. It has been written 
in considerable detail by the patriotic men of 
learning in whom this soil seems so prolific. In 
these erudite tomes you may read how the 
country fell upon the death of the last Duke of 
Zahringen to Count Peter of Savoy, " the little 



Charlemagne," and how he and his successors 
endeared themselves to the Vaudois by their 
respect for justice and liberty. The happy 
land was not even taxed, but consented of its 
own accord from time to time to supply funds 
with which to carry on the government. 
Moudon was the seat of the Count's bailiff ; 
Lausanne remained the exclusive domain of its 

In an evil hour for the Vaudois, the Count 
and many of the nobles espoused the cause of 
Charles the Bold. Following on their victory 
at Grandson, the Switzers overran the country 
and left it in a state of anarchy. The nobility, 
who had long been jealous of the towns, aspired 
to virtual independence. Some of the towns 
remained loyal to Savoy, others thought that 
in their submission to Berne lay their only 
safeguard against the barons. The uncertainty 
of their political destiny notwithstanding, the 
people laughed and possibly grew fat. Boni- 
vard, writing at the beginning of the sixteenth 
century, reports : " 1 lived at a certain place in 
this country while the pest was ravaging it . . . 
yet all the while you might have seen the girls 
dancing to the sound of the virioUs and singing 
songs as if it were shrove-tide." The Vaudois 
were, in fact, on the eve of a long Lent. In 1522, 
in the midst of this political and social anarchy, 
the doctrines of Luther were introduced into 


The Pays de Vaud 

the country by an ex-monk named Lambert. 
He met with a hostile reception, as also did 
Farel, who opened a conventicle at Aigle. The 
magistrates and clergy ordered the expulsion 
of these innovators. The Bernese were not 
slow to avail themselves of this new pretext for 
interference in the affairs of their derelict 
neighbours. They sent Rodolphe Nagili, one 
of their most energetic captains, to Aigle with 
orders to protect Farel and force the reformed 
religion upon the inhabitants. This was not, 
however, to be done all at once. Farel could 
only preach with the sword of Berne flashing 
behind him, and an image-desecrating expedition 
met with a stout resistance. 

Meanwhile the Duke of Savoy had pledged 
Vaud to the Bernese as a guarantee that he 
would not molest Geneva. In 1535 that city 
embraced the Protestant creed. This was more 
than her suzerain could stand, and he at once 
attacked her. The patricians of Berne were not 
the men to miss such a chance. They marched 
an army into the Pays de Vaud to claim fulfil- 
ment of the pledge, and after trifling resistance 
occupied the territory as far as the Lake of 
Leman. Lausanne had thrown off the yoke 
of her bishop and was also crushed in the tight 
embrace of the bear from the Aar. 

The Vaudois had soon reason to regret the 
change of rulers. The old faith was remorsely 



extirpated, and the property of the Church was 
seized by the new Government. Yet, strange 
to say, as in England, the people have continued 
attached to the religion which was thus forced 
upon them by their masters for purely political 
objects. The Bernese were at once Pope and 
Caesar. They expelled the Catholic clergy and 
excluded the natives of the country from all 
share in the government. Taxes were levied 
without the consent of the states, which ceased 
to be summoned. All authority was vested in 
the bailiff, who was chosen from among the 
patricians of Berne for a term of six years, 
during which he lived like a prince at the sole 
expense of the subject people. Nor was this 
a merely passive tyranny. The Bernese had a 
perfect craze for legislation and harassed the 
unfortunate province by an ever-increasing 
multitude of laws and ordinances. Their Ex- 
cellencies, as they styled themselves, were 
clever enough, moreover, to foment dissensions 
between the gentry and the common people, 
and, in short, pursued the policy of the worst 
Italian oligarchies. Under their harsh adminis- 
tration, however, education made rapid strides, 
and public security was rigorously maintained. 
For nearly two hundred years the patient 
Vaudois bore this heavy yoke without a murmur. 
They paid the taxes and fought in the armies 
of their oppressors. Having taken an honour- 


The Pays de Vaud 

able share in the victory of Bremgarten, they 
made so bold as to ask their rulers to convoke 
the estates of Moudon to consider the grievances 
of the country. Their Excellencies rejected the 
proposal with contempt. At last, in 1723, 
Major Davel, a Vaudois officer who had dis- 
tinguished himself in the service of Berne, de- 
termined to raise his country to the rank of a 
canton. He was a hare-brained visionary and 
dreamer, wholly unsuited to head such an 
enterprise. Without taking anyone into his 
confidence he marched his battalion into Lau- 
sanne, and, having surrounded the town hall, 
submitted his demands for the convocation of 
the estates and the recognition of the liberties 
of Vaud to the Bernese governors. These 
crafty officials affected sympathy with the 
movement, and De Crousaz, one of their number, 
persuaded the Major to pass the night in his 
house while the proposals were duly considered. 
Next morning, on his way to the town hall, 
Davel was to his astonishment arrested by the 
commander of a force the magistrates had in- 
troduced into the town overnight. No mercy 
was shown him by the ruthless and grasping 
oligarchy. He was imprisoned at the Porte 
Saint Maire, and put to " the question," which 
means that he was tortured by the crushing of 
his wrists and ankles. Finally he was beheaded 
at Vidy, outside Lausanne, on 24th April 1723, 



predicting that his Hfe would be found not to 
have been sacrificed in vain. 

His prophecy was fulfilled. The roar of the 
French Revolution began to echo among the 
hills of Vaud, and the people roused themselves 
from their ignoble apathy. Their celebrated 
countryman, Laharpe, who had been the tutor 
of the Tsar Alexander, had the ear of the 
Directory and moved them on behalf of his 
little Fatherland. The first risings were sup- 
pressed with bloodshed by the Bernese, who 
maintained their arrogant bearing to the last. 
But in 1797 they received a stern warning from 
Paris that they would be held responsible 
individually for any injury done to the persons 
or property of the Vaudois. In January the 
French troops crossed the frontier, and on the 
24th the colours of the new Lemanic Republic 
were hoisted over the town hall of Lausanne. 
The Government of Berne was at an end, and 
Vaud was for the first time in history a nation. 

Her identity was presently lost in the Helvetic 
Republic — one and indivisible — and again 
emerged as one of the sovereign cantons of the 
reformed confederation established under the 
auspices of Napoleon. There were in Vaud, as 
in all countries, many people who sighed for their 
accustomed chains, but on the whole the new 
canton showed more gratitude than the other 

Swiss states for the enormous benefits France 


J * > • » J • 

> r>» a > » J 

> > > 1 > ) 

».' : > ? ' 



i c f «,r • t. f 

The Pays de Vaud 

had conferred on the country. When darkness 
overspread the earth again after Waterloo, there 
was a rumour that the power of Berne was to 
be restored. But it was too late. Where the 
flag of the Revolution had once waved, the old 
rotten order of things could never recover its 
full strength again. The English reinstated 
Ferdinand VII. in Spain and expelled the 
French, but the seed of liberty took root in the 
peninsula all the same. Similarly Vaud survived 
the downfall of her liberator. She remains a 
self-governing state in a republican confedera- 
tion ; and to emphasise her love of liberty she 
puts that word first in her device — Liherte, Patrie. 
Not a very glorious history ! illumined only 
by that isolated episode of Davel's martyrdom. 
One wishes these people had not so meekly 
accepted the rule and religion of the stranger, 
though larger and more powerful communities 
have made no shame of doing so. Yet, thanks 
to some mysterious federal rights possessed by 
the canton of Fribourg in these parts, Romanism 
still lingers at the dull little town of Echallens 
on the summit of the watershed, which I reached 
after a wearisome climb from Yverdon. Such 
is the zeal of the Vaudois for the creed forced 
upon them by alien tyrants that in this poor 
little oasis of the old faith I found an evangelical 
missionary establishment. Like most enter- 
prises of the kind, its first appeal was to the 

D 49 


corporal needs of man : attached to the Christian 
Young Men's Institute is a restaurant where I 
made a hasty meal. It was meagre enough, 
consisting of eggs fried in butter as bitter and 
salt as Calvin's creed ; and I consoled myself 
by reflecting that such fare was likely to pre- 
judice all who partook of it, once for aU, against 
this most unlovely and unethical system of faith 
and morals. 

A mile or two beyond this dismal town I saw 
the Lake of Geneva spread out below me — a 
vast, profoundly blue expanse, dotted with white 
sails and pearl-grey smudges of smoke ; to right 
and left stretched the green shores, flecked by 
white-walled towns ; straight before me, rising 
from invisible bases, Mont Blanc lifted its dome 
above the clouds — the bulwark, as it seemed, 
of a far, aerial kingdom. The sun was shifting 
towards Geneva. Its rays were pale gold and 
were caught over the Alps of Savoy by a fleet 
of curling clouds sailing to the north. As I 
gazed a great bird rose up, as it seemed, from the 
dust before my wheel, dazed me for an instant 
with a whirr and ruffling of great wings, and 
then with these wide outstretched speeded across 
the lake into France. 

It was good to let my noiseless wheel rush 
down that long, winding slope into Lausanne, 
ever quickening its pace and forcing the moun- 
tain air into my face and lungs. The chill of the 


The Pays de Vaud 

bleak uplands of Echallens was gone, and an 
immense exhilaration possessed me. In those 
moments I was intensely conscious of my youth 
and of the present. Most happiness is retro- 
spective or prospective. The joy of the senses 
belongs to the moment. 

Such thrills are more often experienced on 
the higher Alps far above the snow-line than 
approaching sedate scholastic Lausanne. The 
capital of the canton Vaud is a city of the Bath 
and Cheltenham type — given up to leisure, 
lettered ease, and the amenities of artificial life. 
Here nature is contemplated, admired and shut 
out. It is a town suited to scholars and old 
maids. It stands a little way back from the lake 
as if afraid to wet its feet. One understands 
why such a place bore so long the oppressive 
yoke of Berne — tragedy, blood, strife, would be 
out of harmony with its essential atmosphere. 
In spite of its changes of masters, Lausanne 
has been unusually fortunate in avoiding these 
disagreeable things. When the Bernese invaded 
the country the bishop fled without testing the 
powers of resistance of his strong castle which 
still looms over the city. The religion of Lau- 
sanne was then decided, not by the appeal to 
arms usual in such cases, but by a controversy 
in the cathedral between Calvin and the Catholic 
theologians. If the black Pope of Geneva really 
won in this battle of words, his opponents must 



have been phenomenally poor dialecticians ! 
However, it is admitted that when the people 
had heard enough they hastened to ransack the 
church while their masters confiscated the 
bishop's property. Even Davel's pronuncia- 
miento failed to stain the streets with blood. 
Meanwhile the townsfolk were subjected to 
an ecclesiastical tyranny from. which the Holy 
Office would have refrained. It was the golden 
age of Stiggins, You were fined or imprisoned 
if you didn't go to church ; dancing, card- 
playing, snuff-taking and tobacco-smoking were 
criminal offences ; the men's wigs were not 
allowed to exceed a certain size ; the women of 
the bourgeoisie were forbidden to wear more 
than one petticoat at a time — though I should 
imagine that violations of this last-mentioned 
law could not very easily have been detected. 
It was always Good Friday in Lausanne ; but 
the Calvinistic churches have always been 
respecters of persons and were careful to explain 
that these laws did not apply to the gentry and 
the magistrates. 

The gentry were not easily reached by the 
spiritual shepherds of Lausanne. Having no 
part in the government of their own country, 
they went abroad when young and often dis- 
tinguished themselves as soldiers, scholars and 
statesmen in the service of foreign powers. I 
have named Laharpe. M. Vulliet, the historian 


The Pays de Vaud 

of the canton, mentions, among other illustrious 
natives. Generals Haldimand and Ribeaupierre, 
of the British and Russian services respectively, 
and several others who seem to have made a 
stir in the literary circles of their day. These 
exiles returned sooner or later to the city by the 
lake, and tempered the puritanical atmosphere 
with the graces if not the gallantries of the 
courts they had left. The academies of Geneva 
and Lausanne furnished pastors and martyrs 
to the Huguenot communities in the south of 
France, but at home the spirit of Calvin was 
modified by the charm of " madrigals, im- 
promptus and stanzas to Chloe. ... It was a 
joyous but also a serious society." 

These cultured townsfolk attracted the friends 
they had made amid other scenes, and by the 
middle of the eighteenth century, Lausanne, like 
Geneva, had become a favourite resort of the 
polite world. Perhaps the town's best claim 
to the affectionate remembrance of mankind is 
that here Gibbon completed his stupendous 
work. Voltaire liked the place, Madame de 
Stael was bored there. Much has been written, 
and I shall say no more, of the literary as- 
sociations of the Vaudois capital. " All the 
amenities of society and sound philosophy," 
wrote the great historian, " have found their 
way into the part of Switzerland in which the 
cHmate is most agreeable and wealth abounds. 



The people here have succeeded in grafting the 
pohteness of Athens upon the simpHcity of 

One wishes they had hkewise grafted the 
patriotism of Thrasybulus on the valour of 
Leonidas. But Lausanne had found out that 
she pleased the elegant foreigner, and she has 
dreaded ever since everything that might drive 
him away. You must not look for heroes at 
health resorts, nor expect to hear a new Mar- 
seillaise at Margate. Lausanne still profits 
handsomely by foreign gold. Her schools swarm 
with English boys and girls, and there is a large 
resident English colony. In some parts of the 
town you might fancy yourself in Bath or 
Cheltenham. Elderly gentlemen of the Anglo- 
Indian type pass you discussing the iniquities 
of the Liberal Government and predicting that 
their country is going to the dogs — which is 
perhaps the reason why they elect to spend their 
pensions and educate their children in a republi- 
can country. 

There appear to be no manufactures or 
serious industries in the pleasant Vaudois 
capital, but it flourishes exceedingly for all 
that. The outskirts resound with the hammer- 
ing of builders and carpenters ; there is con- 
siderable show of modest opulence. In native 
society, the academic and legal elements pre- 
dominate, for this is the seat not only of a 


The Pays de Vaud 

university but of the supreme federal tribunal. 
This was established at Lausanne as a solatium 
for all the other federal institutions having been 
fixed in German-speaking cantons. Now the 
Bernese have to come up for judgment among 
the people they looked down upon as slaves. 

Tourists and globe-trotters do not stay long 
in Lausanne, and scarcely give more than a 
glance at its historic monuments. The castle 
of St Maire, where the bishops reigned and re- 
velled, and Davel spent his last night, is now 
sadly modernised and houses the cantonal 
administration. The cathedral was built by 
Catholic hands and still looks fair and stately 
outside ; since the Calvinist conquest the in- 
terior has been sv/ept and garnished, and seems 
to have been taken possession of by spirits 
other than those of religion. 

Finding yourself on the shore of the lake, you 
may be tempted to cross over into Savoy ; 
or, if you have not had enough of the odour of 
puritanism, may follow the shore to Geneva past 
dull Merges and picturesque Nyon. It is worth 
while to turn aside for a glance at Vufflens, the 
grandest castle on Swiss soil. " This magnificent 
feudal manor," exclaims a German traveller, 
" symbolises the power of those proud barons, 
the vassals of the kings of Burgundy and the 
dukes of Savoy, who were all but the equals of 
their suzerain. All the poetry of the middle 



age seems to reside in the mighty towers of this 
imposing monument. The image of the rude 
agitated Ufe which once filled this lonely neigh- 
bourhood with noise and strife impresses on us 
more forcibly the charm of the soft and peaceful 
existence which is led to-day at the foot of these 

The castle is formed by two buildings : the 
keep or donjon, fifty-four metres in height, and 
a square palace or residential block adjacent, 
flanked at each angle with a round tower. 
Keep and towers blossom out at their summits 
into the heavy machicolated galleries so common 
in Italy and carry high-pitched and pinnacled 
roofs. Certain parts of the stronghold may 
date from the twelfth century, but the keep 
as a building is not older than the first decade 
of the fifteenth century, and was restored in 
i860. The interior of the castle presents a 
curious combination of styles, the work of 
successive generations. The vaulting of the 
baronial hall reminds one of St Mark's, Venice. 
It need not be said that the view from the 
platform of the keep embraces a magnificent 
expanse of mountain and lake. 

In the opposite direction, from Lausanne you 
may proceed always beside the lake towards 
Vevey and Montreux. With every stride you 
take new mountains come into view, new 
combinations of white peaks and ragged rocks 


• > ' , ', i ' ; 


The Pays de Vaud 

rival each other in sublimity, till at last the 
glorious sun-kissed Dent du Midi closes the 
prospect. Vevey itself is a little Lausanne, 
thriving, pleasant, and a favourite resort of 
foreign gentlefolk. Its name is gratefully re- 
membered in the world's nurseries. Vevey is 
also the emporium of a drink not made for 
babes or brown cats. It is the capital of the 
wine district, and Swiss wine, it should be said, 
is by no means to be despised. The natives like 
it so well that drunkenness is their besetting 
weakness. Vevey has always been devoted to 
the cult of Bacchus and has found gold at the 
bottom of the cup. A fraternity of vine- 
dressers seems to have existed here from the 
earliest times, but its archives were unhappily 
burnt in 1688. To this " abbey of the vine- 
growers " is due the institution of the celebrated 
Fete des Vignerons, which has for hundreds of 
years been held in the market-place at Vevey 
at various and ever-lengthening intervals. This 
is almost the greatest festival in Switzerland 
and attracts an immense concourse. In 1833 
more than 25,000 visitors flocked into the town; 
in 1889 no fewer than 170,000 strangers were 
present. Special music and dances are prepared 
for the pageant, in which the actors are without 
exception natives, though they usually number 
over a thousand. 

" The fete des vignerons," writes Armand 



Vautier, " is the great national, patriotic, and 
popular feast, the festival of agriculture, truly 
born of the soil on which it is celebrated. Its 
poetry is thoroughly impregnated with the odour 
of the spot, in spite of its repeated incursions 
into the domain of mythology. In the beginning 
it was a simple parade of the confraternity of 
vine-growers, dedicated to St Urban, which 
went through the streets of Veve}^ celebrating 
the culture of the vine. Later on, the other 
agricultural industries became entitled to a 
place : Ceres, then Pales, were joined with 
Bacchus. The highlands, with their goat-herds 
and flocks, were next brought in and became the 
most popular element of the festival. Subse- 
quent to 1 79 1, four troops were organised, 
corresponding to the four seasons. Groups were 
added to groups, the number of characters 
became imposing. Thanks to a very serious 
preparation, they have proved that the Vaudois 
are capable of becoming, at a given moment, 
an artistic people. The varied tableaux which 
succeed each other in this national epopea — the 
corteges of gods with their priests, shepherds, 
harvesters, goat-herds, fauns, and bacchantes, 
dances intervening, mediaeval Switzers bringing 
up the rear — have usually a somewhat incoherent 
effect. It is an odd mixture of pagan mythology 
and Christian elements, of realism and con- 
vention. And yet these tableaux harmonise 


The Pays de Vaud 

under the gaze of the onlooker ; as in a Vaudois 
landscape, a Roman monument, a feudal 
tower and modem city are embraced in the same 
frame without producing any sense of incon- 

Beyond Vevey, the lake shore is embanked 
and begins to merit the name of the Swiss 
Riviera. The mountains come closer and closer 
to the water, the clean, white road is bordered 
by a long succession of villas with gardens and 
balconies looking on the lake. Presently the 
houses assume a more palatial aspect, grandiose 
hotels line the route, and perch on the flanks 
of the overhanging mountains. We have 
reached that long, irregular band of villages — 
Vemex, Veytaux, Clarens, Territet, Montreux, 
Chillon — which goes by the last name but one. 
Montreux is pre-eminently the resort of French 
Switzerland, and one of the oldest. Clarens 
is indissolubly associated with Rousseau, who 
wandered here dreaming of Heloise ; Chillon 
has been immortalised by Byron. For well 
over a century these associated villages have 
attracted foreigners in search of blue sky, clear 
waters, and noble prospects. Montreux claims 
to be a resort all the year round, but it is dull 
and stuffy at the height of summer. The 
hotels swarm then, as at all times, with Russian 
grand dukes, but they contribute little to the 
entertainment of visitors. There is a casino, 



of course, where you may listen to improving 
music, and any number of tea-shops where you 
get excellent pastry and thin tea. In the 
calm days of August and September there is 
little else to do but to sit on the terrace of your 
hotel and watch the play of the light on the 
Dent du Midi. The mountain encroaches so 
closely on the lake that walks are only possible 
along the shore, and then by a road crowded 
with houses and narrowed by a tramway track. 
Behind you, there are any number of climbs and 
scrambles up the mountains to Glion, Caux, 
Les Avant, and the other winter resorts above 

In summer, in fact, there is little to draw 
strangers here except the famous castle of 
Chillon jutting out into the blue water on the 
road to Villeneuve. The venerable pile is in 
excellent repair and is visited by swarms of 
tourists, who are kept severely in order by an 
elderly gendarme — one of the few seen in the 
canton. Most people know something of the 
history of the castle ; but the following notes 
prepared at the time of my first visit may re- 
fresh the traveller's memory. 


) > 1 • * 

- • .' •'. 



Washed on all sides but one by the waters of 
the lake, the castle of Chillon seems to carry the 
natural fortifications of the mountains in one 
unbroken sweep down to the very margin of 
the waters, so skilful — or fortunate — was its 
thirteenth - century architect. The present 
fortress is invested for most English visitors 
with a romantic glamour through the genius of 
Lord Byron. But long before the Gothic arches 
were moulded the advantages of the site were 
recognised by the lords of the surrounding 
country. For what could be handier than the 
lake whose waters lapped the castle's very 
foundations when one had enemies to dispose 
of ? Relics of the Bronze Age have been found 
on its rocky platforms. There are undoubted 
traces of a Roman edifice, and as early as the 
ninth century the records speak of a massive 
and gloomy tower, built in what was then a 
savage spot where nothing was visible but 
" the sky, the Alps and the Lake of Leman." 
Even this prospect was all too often shut out 
from the wretched inmates by the thick walls 
of the Carlovingian stronghold. 
The history of Chillon, indeed, is the history 



of its dungeons. The first illustrious prisoner 
whose name the chronicles have preserved was 
the Count Wala, Abbot of Corbie, the trusted 
favourite of Charlemagne. Here in 830 he 
was shut up by Louis the Debonnair, for Louis' 
sons had been in revolt against their father and 
Wala was known to be the friend and counsellor 
of Lothair, though the unfortunate man's 
counsels were never followed. But his captivity 
was neither very long nor very irksome. When 
Lothair took the field a second time against 
his father, Wala was hurried away to another 
prison, farther removed from the reach of the 
rebel. A few years later the cell of the monk 
was substituted for that of the captive, and in 
the monastery of Bobbio, in Lombardy, Wala 
passed out of a turbulent world. 

In 1254 the present castle was begun by Peter 
of Savoy, " the little Charlemagne," who made 
it his favourite residence. Says an old song : 

" Le vaillant comte PieiTe 
Possedait maint vallon, 
Et pour son nid de pierre, 
Le manoir de Chillon ; 
Nid plante dans les ondes 
Dont les lames profondes 
Bercent le vieux chateau 

Sur I'eau, 
Sur le bord de I'eau 
Bercent le vieux chateau 
Sur I'eau." 


But amid the ups and downs of war it happened 
that Peter himself was once confined here as 
prisoner with eighty of his knights and barons. 
After this the princes of Savoy lost their love 
for the watery fortress and Chillon came to be 
.used only as a State prison. 

In the fourteenth century a pestilence, a kind 
I of Black Death, swept through the neighbouring 
'country of Vieux-Chablais. The cry went up 
amongst the Vaudois that the wells were poisoned. 
iln the Middle Ages there was but one cause 
recognised for every pestilence, famine or sudden 
death that devastated the land — the Jews. 
And so the dungeons of Chillon were filled to 
overflowing with these unfortunates. Many 
were burned alive by order of the judges of 
Savoy. But the people accused their magis- 
trates of undue indulgence to the criminals. 
They broke into the castle, and seizing on all 
the prisoners, without regard to age or sex or 
any form of law, hurried them pell-mell to the 
flames. The instigators of this horrible outrage 
were punished with rewards and honours. 

But it was through the captivity of Frangois 
Bonivard that Chillon became a household 
word in England. Byron, knowing, as he after- 
wards confessed, nothing about his life, seized 
on the name of Bonivard as a peg on which to 
hang a panegyric to liberty. " The Prisoner 
of Chillon " and the fine sonnet that precedes 



it are the result. For there was a strange super- 
stition abroad among the EngUsh romantic 
poets of the early nineteenth century, that 
Switzerland, at that time one of the oppression 
centres of Europe, was the very home of freedom. 
Byron has left us a striking picture of a 
suffering, sensitive, introspective character, not 
guiltless of his own rather theatrical personality, 
touched with the mal du siecle. His prisoner, a 
heroic martyr to Protestant convictions, becomes 
warped in body and mind : 

" My hair is grey, but not with years 

My hmbs are bowed though not with toil 
But rusted with a vile repose." 

He is crushed in spirit by the death of his two 
brothers, whose captivity was but a figment of 
the poet's imagination, designed to increase the 
horror. The maddening monotony of his life 
almost overbalances a delicate brain, until, a 
living corpse, he again emerges into the world. 

" It might be months, or years or days — 

I kept no count, I took no note — 
I had no hope my eyes to raise, 

And clear them of their dreary mote ; 
At last men came to set me free ; 

I asked not why, and recked not where ; 
It was at length the same to me 
Fettered or fetterless to be, 

I learned to love despair." 



With these tragic hnes beating in his head the 
traveller gazes in silent horror at the thick iron 
rings let into the pillars of the dungeon, to which 
Bonivard was chained. But the account of the 
prisoner's sufferings given by history is less 
harrowing than that evolved by Byron. 

Frangois indeed bore a brave part in the fight 
against Savoy, and acquitted himself well to- 
wards his adopted town, Geneva. But he was 
no high-souled martyr burning with devotion 
to religious liberty. He was a jolly man of the 
world, this Frangois, hospitable, a great viveur, 
well seasoned with Rabelaisian gros sel, equally 
attracted by the popping of the corks or the 
rustle of a petticoat. 

In his early youth Bonivard had been placed 
under the care of his uncle, Jean-Ame Bonivard, 
Prior of St Victor, on the outskirts of Geneva. 
Here he had followed his childish bent, growing 
fat and learning much about a naughty world, 
until it was discovered that he could not even 
read ! Straightway the protesting Frangois was 
sent off to a respectable and learned abbot in 
Piedmont, where a considerable amount of 
knowledge was forced into his reluctant, but by 
no means sluggish, brain. Thence he proceeded 
to the university of Turin, and later to Fribourg 
and Strasburg. Then came news of his uncle's 
death to interrupt his joyous life ; but Jean- 
Ame had bequeathed to his scapegrace nephew, 
E 65 


with the Pope's consent, the Abbey of St Victor. 
Frangois returned in high feather to Geneva, 
to make merry with his ecclesiastical revenues, 
though strenuously refusing to enter holy orders. 

At this time there was a strong patriotic party 
in Geneva plotting to throw off the yoke of Savoy. 
Frangois threw himself wholeheartedly into 
this dangerous game, boldly tossing down the 
gauntlet to Duke Amadeus. Along with St 
Victor he had inherited from his uncle the 
manor of Cartigny, and also some old bronze 
artillery which Jean-Ame had directed him 
to melt down and cast into a peal of bells for the 
abbey. But Bonivard preferred to present them 
to his friends in the city for less peaceful purposes, 
a hostile act which Amadeus never forgot. 

But meantime Geneva was beginning to 
give ear to the doctrines of the Reformation. 
Francois embraced the theories with avidity, 
though feeling it quite unnecessary to square 
his conduct with them. He went to Rome, to 
find, he said, " irrefutable arguments " against 
the Papacy. 

On his return he called together the leading 
lights among the reformers, announcing that he 
was going to read to them the two books then 
most in favour with the cardinals. But alas ! 
the favoured literature of Rome proved to be 
in the style approved by less holy men. There 
was consternation among that assembly of 



Genevan gowns and bands. Interest and 
chuckles of sensual delight fought hard with 
pious horror, until there rose up an austere 
divine, who with righteous wrath rebuked the 
simple youth. Then with great dignity the 
man of God retired, taking with him the soberer 
of his followers, and Francois finished up his 
reading amid the plaudits of those listeners 
who remained. " I always knew," cried the 
unrepentant one, " that in every man there dwells 
a swine, whether he be a Roman Catholic or 
a Protestant of Geneva ! Long live human 
nature ! " 

Now, the Church in all her majesty swooped 
down upon the abbot of St Victor. The Eucharist 
was forbidden him for two years, and meantime 
he was advised to quit Geneva. After a period 
of adventurous wanderings he returned to his 
adopted city, only to find that his old revolu- 
tionary comrade, Berthelier^ had been put to 
death. He himself was seized and forced by the 
Duke of Savoy to resign his priory. For a time 
he was imprisoned, but, on the intercession of 
the Bishop of Geneva, was allowed to retire to 
his manor of Cartigny. Here he established 
himself " with six arquebuses and six pounds of 
gunpowder given to him by the people of Geneva." 
On his gate he hung a warning to those who might 
dare to enter ; to drive his moral home a carcass 
creaked in chains on a neighbouring gibbet. 



But both Savoy and the Vatican were out- 
raged at this independence ; a troop of soldiers 
surrounded the house, and Frangois was forced 
to fly. Geneva gave him refuge, but Amadeus 
sent him word that outside its sheltering walls 
he need expect no mercy. At this point his 
mother fell ill, and Frangois courageously set 
out to pay his filial respects. At Moudon he 
fell into a trap, and was taken prisoner by a 
company of archers, who carried him off to the 
chateau of Chillon. 

Thus began his six years of imprisonment. 
At first he was comfortably lodged, but when 
the Duke came to visit him Francois received 
him with disrespect. Raising his fingers to his 
nose, he complained of the smell of sulphur that 
entered with his Highness. But the joke cost 
him dear, for he was straightway thrown into 
the underground dungeon, where the rest of his 
captivity was spent. 

Bonivard seems to have borne his imprison- 
ment in that philosophical spirit with which the 
Middle Ages were accustomed to regard these 
small vicissitudes of life. There is actually a 
pathway trodden by his footsteps in the dungeon 
floor, but while recognising the unvarying cour- 
age of the prisoner, I cannot bring myself to 
look upon this prison as " a holy place, and its 
sad floor an altar." 

When the Bernese troops swept triumphantly 




through the Pays de Vaud in 1536, they opened 
the doors of Chillon to the prisoner. The 
Genevese received him with open arms, took the 
burden of his poverty upon themselves, made 
him a member of the Council of State with a 
pension of two hundred crowns a year, and gave 
him a house to live in. " Bonivard," says the 
historian, Jean Senebier, " when he left his 
prison behind him, had the pleasure of finding 
Geneva free and reformed." Reformed the 
city undoubtedly was, too much so for the ex- 
Prior of St Victor ; but though freed from the 
domination of Savoy, there was little liberty 
in the city whose morals and manners Calvin 

Francois' joyous past had not been forgotten 
by the burghers. It was specially laid down 
that he must lead a decent and sober life, that 
his children, if he had any, must be born in 
wedlock, that on no account must he take a 
young female to be his housekeeper. For the 
reformers, though profoundly ignorant of any 
broad principles of morality, were fanatically 
devoted to the legal forms of respectability. 
Frangois submitted with a sigh, and married 
Catherine Baumgartner, who took his affairs 
thoroughly in hand. She succeeded in getting 
many privileges for her husband from the 
Council, not forgetting " half an ell of velvet 

for a petticoat " as a reward for her own exer- 



tions. But his matrimonial affairs were a sore 
trial both to Bonivard and to Geneva. The old 
Adam was by no means dead within him ; his 
conduct after his first wife's death soon brought 
the heavy hand of the Council down upon him. 
A threat to lodge him in the Hotel de Ville under 
the stern eye of the holy men drove him post 
haste again into matrimony. 

Jeanne d'Armeis was his second choice, a 
widow well endowed with property. They did 
not get on well together, and Frangois was 
summoned before the Council on a charge of 
beating her severely. He managed, however, 
to persuade the judges that his wife deserved it — 
never in those days a very difficult task, when the 
whole duty of woman was to obey her husband. 
But Jeanne followed her predecessor quickly 
to the grave, and after the manner of the 
reformers, Fran9ois promptly took another wife, 
also blessed with property. For twelve years 
she ministered to him as a good wife should, and 
then died, and her money passed to her son by a 
former marrage. 

Frangois felt aggrieved, and received into his 
house Catherine de Courtavonne, a nun who had 
been driven from her convent by the Reformation, 
and with her a soi-disant cousin. Catherine's 
manners had lost the austerity of monastic life, 
and the house of Bonivard soon became the one 
spot where the sternly repressed mirth and 



gaiety of Geneva could overflow. Unfortun- 
ately these goings-on could not be hidden. 
The genial host was rebuked sternly by the city 
magnates, and threats of dire penalties were 
levelled at him, unless he should instantly 
sanctify his relationship with Catherine by 
presenting her with a wedding ring. 

The old man grumbled, but gave in. Much 
to the astonishment of pious Geneva, the 
marriage ceremony did not put a stop to the 
joyous gatherings at his house. It was hardly 
to be expected that Frangois could refrain from 
satirising these unco guid. One night, under 
the influence of the good Rhine wine, he rashly 
recited a scandalous chorus he had composed 
about " ces messieurs de Geneve." It was 
enthusiastically received by his guests, who all 
took up the refrain. As they reeled homewards 
that night, they made the streets of Calvin's city 
ring with its ribald measures. 

The excited diners were taken into custody, 
and a strict examination was made into the 
domestic affairs of M. de St Victor. The 
comedy quicldy turned to tragedy. Catherine 
de Courtavonne was accused of infidelity to her 
husband, and was brought to trial. Frangois 
did all he could to save her, swearing that 
never had she given him reason for suspicion. 
" Ces messieurs " knew better. The Reforma- 
tion had unloosed some of the most hideous 



passions of mankind. To these Catherine fell a 

Her cousin, who was said to be her paramour, 
was beheaded. Catherine was tied up in a sack, 
and thrown into the Rhone. 

Such were the gentle and most Christian 
customs of the Reformed or Protestant Church 
of Geneva. 

Bonivard did not live long after this horrible 
murder. In 1570 he died childless, murmuring 
with his latest breath against the oppressors 
of his adopted city. But notwithstanding, he 
made the republic his heir, leaving all his books 
and manuscripts to form the nucleus of a public 
library. His beautiful fifteenth-century editions 
can still be seen at Geneva. " He loved know- 
ledge," says Senebier, " and did all he could 
to give it a home in this rising city." Freedom 
he loved as v/ell, but, delivering his city from 
one tyranny, he unwittingly handed it over to 
another far more intimate and oppressive. 


1 » : • 


Amid the clangour and fuss of the tourist whirl 
you may listen in vain for the melody which has 
charmed the Switzer out of the ranks of foreign 
armies and haunts the ears of the opulent hotel 
director in London and Paris. The " Ranz des 
Vaches " is rarely heard near the great tourist 
centres. It will greet you with every sunset on 
the lush green uplands which overlook the 
Sarine and the Broye. There the herdsman 
still melodiously calls the cattle home, and there 
you still expect to find Phyllis flirting with 
Corydon in costumes designed by Watteau. If 
Little Bo-peep has not yet found her sheep, the 
canton Fribourg, most of all the Gru3^ere dis- 
trict, is the place to look for them. 

The valley famed all the world over for its 
cheese is the Switzerland of romance, not the 
Switzerland of the climber and the artist. The 
snowclad mountains charm but do not overawe. 
They rise as a benign background to the light 
green of the meadows and the dark green of the 
pines ; they are seen at the ends of groves made 
for lovers' dalliance ; and the chalets on their 
verdant slopes are ideal nests for pastoral 
mates. Here we are in Arcadia, and here the 



traditions of that happy land have Hngered 

The region, it need not be said, was not named 
after its most renowned and esteemed product. 
Old chroniclers averred that Gruyerius was the 
chief of the band of Vandals who first settled 
in the lower valley, or else that this band had 
adopted as its device that wandering bird, the 
crane. From grue to Gruyere the transition is 
easy — easier than from Vandals to Arcadians. 
For a long time these barbarians never ventured 
to penetrate into the upper valley, which was 
closed against them by a formidable barrier of 
rock and guarded, as they believed, by a frightful 
demon. At last, while hunting the bear, an 
intrepid youth scaled the mountain-wall and 
gazed for the first time on the green pastures of 
the upper Gruyere, into which he led his com- 
rades, rejoicing exceedingly. 

So the whole region became peopled, and, like 
the rest of what is now Switzerland, it became 
part of the Burgundian kingdom. In the tenth 
century it was known as Ogo, a contraction 
probably of the German Hochgau, and Turim- 
bert founded the line of counts, to whom the 
shepherds and shepherdesses, the cheese-makers 
and the cowherds, looked for six centuries for 
guidance. These paternal sovereigns dwelt in 
the high-peaked castle which surmounts the 
little town of Gruyeres. You climb up to it by 


In Arcadia 

la steep and toilsome path known as the Charriere 
des Morts, possibly because of the ghastly 
crucifix, with gaping red wounds, which greets 
your eyes at the town gate. Restored and re- 
built heaven knows how many times, the castle 
to-day looks much as it must have looked in its 
prime, thanks to the loving care of its present 
owner and his immediate predecessor. It was 
at one time the property of a M. Bovy of Geneva, 
whose brother, Daniel, an artist of repute, has 
recorded the history of the Gruyere in fine 
vigorous fashion on the walls of the hall of 
honour. There you may see the coming of 
Gruyerius into the valley, and next the departure 
of the men of Gruyere for the crusade, headed 
by the knights, Hugues and Turnius : they give 
their lands to the Abbey of Rougemont, and 
crying : " S'agit d'aller ! reviendra qui pourra ! " 
they leave the castle and the drawbridge is 
drawn up behind them. Turnius and Hugues, 
it need not be said, proved themselves the 
bravest knights in the Christian host. Not less 
remarkable were the feats of the counts who 
stayed behind, one of whom is shown delivering 
a beautiful stranger from a long captivity upon 
the taking of the town of Rue. Nor does the 
painter leave uncommemorated the valour of 
those heroic shepherds, Clarimbert and Ulric 
Bras-de-fer, who drag the count from the midst 
of a horde of enemies, and hold the pass against 



him for many hours, till their great swords 
become literally glued to their horny hands 
with blood. They were terrible fellows, these 
Gruyeriens, and worthy of them were their 
wives, who, being left alone and attacked by the 
Bernese, put them to flight by driving against 
them a flock of goats with flaming torches stuck 
on their horns ! In this heroic manner did the 
counts and people of Gruyere maintain their 
liberties against the powerful republics of 
Fribourg and Berne. 

But it was in the arts of peace that the 
counts most excelled, surpassing indeed all their 
contemporaries in their knowledge of the gay 
saber. They did everything they could to make 
themselves and their subjects happy. In dance 
and song they delighted. One Sunday good 
Count Rodolphe and five courtiers took hands 
and started to dance on the castle terrace. 
Presently they danced down into the town. 
The lads and lasses came out and joined hands 
with them. Away they went, dancing all 
through the summer night over hill and dale 
and meadow. The cowherds left their oxen 
and followed, the goats skipped after the dancers. 
The Count was well-nigh exhausted, but he 
would not give in. He was, as we should say, 
a sportsman. At last, on Tuesday morning, 
seven hundred dancers collapsed, completely 

blown, in the market-place of Gessenay, having 


In Arcadia 

traversed the whole long valley from end to end. 
IThose were days when folk could dance indeed. 

Then came the joyous days of Count Antoine, 
who would lead the " Ranz des Vaches " and 
could pipe against any of his lusty cowherds 
and sprightly milkmaids. He it was who held a 
great picnic on the bank of the lac d'Arnon, and 
feasted the swains on twenty chamois and a 
thousand cheeses. But alas ! a storm came on 
and all the tents were overset. Cory don and 
Phyllis were drenched to the skin, and the 
jovial Count was well-nigh drowned while 
swimming the torrent of the Tourneresse. 

Nor did these good counts neglect the more 
serious duties of their station. Thev traversed 
the country, sometimes on foot, settling disputes 
under the greenwood tree, dowering poor maidens 
and otherwise consoling them, reconciling lovers, 
and showering gold and silver on all who came 
their way. So at least Count Pierre III. was 
assured that his ancestors behaved by his wise 
fool, Girard Chalamala, who was a living 
archive of the little state. You may see his 
strange-looking house outside the castle, dis- 
tinguished by frightful gargoyles. It was ac- 
quired, to save it from destruction, by M. Victor 
Tissot, the author of " La Suisse Inconnue." On 
its walls may be read some of the fool's sayings, 
such as " The secret of little souls is known only 
to little souls," which sounds profound. Here 



the jester used to hold his courts of folly, to 
which his master was admitted on condition 
that he removed his spurs. This precaution was 
necessary, for his lordship had cruelly kicked 
his fool when, on being asked what he thought 
of the new countess, he answered : "If I were 
lord of Gruyeres I would rather keep my pretty 
mistress than marry an ugly wife." Chalamala 
also exerted himself to keep alive the chateau 
d'amour tourneys, in wliich a wooden castle 
was vigorously defended and attacked by bands 
of young men. In after years the castle of love 
was garrisoned by the prettiest girls of the town 
— at Fribourg at least — and was attacked by 
youths armed with garlands and nosegays. The 
fortress always surrendered on terms, which were 
that every damsel should give one of the be- 
siegers a kiss. My authority for the existence 
of this custom — the " Conservateur suisse " 
published at Tausanne in 1814 — asserts, to the 
immense relief of us moderns, that these pro- 
ceedings were conducted with the utmost seemli- 
ness and always in presence of the fathers, 
mothers, and as many maiden aunts as could be 
got together. 

The wise Chalamala died in 1349, leaving his 
friend, the parson of Gruyeres, fifteen sous to buy 
a cow with, and to the Count, his master, his cap 
and bells and all his debts. The annals he had 
collected of the history of the county were 


In Arcadia 

stored in the castle, but were unluckily de- 
stroyed by fire. 

You may see a copy of his will hung on the 
castle walls, and you are also shown the chamber 
of Luce d'Albergeuse, the loveliest shepherdess 
in the country, whom the last count but one 
made his mistress at the cost of the finest 
mountain in his realm. Near Montsalvens they 
point out a path called the charriere de creve 
cceur, because along it, they say, the countess, 
with a breaking heart, saw her husband ride 
in quest of his leman. I doubt very much if 
high-born dames in those days were much 
troubled by their lord's wandering fancies. 
They married for place and power, and there 
could have been little pretence of love on either 
side. Their vanity may have been hurt, not 
their heart. It is the forsaken mistress that I 
pity, who, after having ruled for years practically 
as queen, found herself suddenly hustled out of 
sight or even sometimes compelled to bow before 
her lover's new bride. I cannot see why a 
woman who marries from worldly gain should 
grumble if her husband, having fulfilled his 
bargain, chooses to bestow his affections else- 

But the joyous life of the counts of Gruyeres 
could not last for ever. They danced away the 
shoes off their feet and the clothes off their back. 
They literally sold portions of their patrimony 



for a song. And they had taught their people 
to dance and sing all day, not to amass wealth on 
which taxes could be levied. The merchants of 
Berne and Fribourg were always ready to lend 
the Arcadians money, and these light-hearted 
folk never asked themselves how it was to be 
paid back. The counts skipped about like kids 
and frolicked with their subjects, but often 
returned home to find their creditors awaiting 
them with a bill us long as their coraule. Michel, 
who became count in 1539, speedily found him- 
self bankrupt. He had passed his youth at the 
Court of Frangois Premier, where he had con- 
tracted expensive tastes, which he was unable to 

In the ballads of the Gruyere he is hailed as : 

" Michel li preux, li beaux, 
Fleur de tous aulters damoiseaux." 

He was in reality a futile sort of person, re- 
markable only for the magnitude of his debts. 
He was first neither in the dance nor the field. 
He worked hard for the King of France but 
achieved no particular distinction in his service ; 
and the 4000 men he sent to fight for his Majesty 
at Ceresole fled from the field like their name- 
sakes, the cranes. Nor did he show to much 
advantage in his relations with a Polish prince, 
Frederick, Duke of Liegnitz. This potentate, a 
bankrupt like the Count, paid a visit to Switzer- 


In Arcadia 

land to escape his creditors and quartered him- 
self at the castle of Gruyeres. He persuaded 
Michel to lend him 2000 crowns, which his 
unfortunate host had to borrow, and went off to 
spend them at Fribourg. Hearing that he was 
living in great style, the Count followed him and 
presented him with a bill not only for the money 
lent but for the cost of his entertainment. The 
Duke tartly replied that he would refund the 
loan, but certainly not the cost of his board and 
lodging at Gruyeres. Had he known that the 
Count carried on business as an innkeeper he 
would have gone elsewhere. All the same, the 
tribunal of Fribourg ordered him to pay the 
full amount claimed. As he had not a crown in 
his pocket, he had to leave his jewels as security, 
and these Michel had to share with the inn- 
keeper who had accommodated the Duke at 
Fribourg. The unfortunate Count now owed 
not less than a million and a half francs of our 
money. He married a rich widow of Burgundy , 
who placed her fortune at his disposal, but this 
proved to be a mere drop in the ocean of his 
debts. He borrowed right and left, sinking 
ever deeper into the mire. As a last resource, 
he appealed to his subjects to take upon them- 
selves all his liabilities, offering in return to make 
them free sovereign burgesses like those of the 
forest cantons. The Arcadians were not too 

simple to refuse. Finally, on 9th November 
F 81 


1554, the commission appointed by the cantons 
to Hquidate the Count's affairs adjudged his 
dominions to his creditors and released his 
subjects from their allegiance. On the same 
day the last Count of Gruyeres and his wife 
quitted his ancestral castle for ever, and the 
little state, having endured under one dynasty 
six hundred years, was divided between the 
towns of Fribourg and Berne. 

Michel, heartlessly abandoning his natural 
daughter, Guillauma, in the castle of Oron, 
passed into the service of France. He made 
vain efforts to recover his county through the 
mediation of the kings of France and Spain, 
and died in the Netherlands in the year 1576. 
Such was the unromantic end — sold up by 
brokers ! — of the race which resembled most 
closely the princes of old romance. Idylls 
in real life often do finish like that. 

The castle, at any rate, has recovered much 
of its former glory, and is probably much better 
kept and furnished than it was in the days of 
the counts. Besides the frescoes by Bovy, you 
may see panels painted by his friends Corot, 
Baron, Salzmann, and other modern masters, 
while his guests at the castle. You will enjoy 
most the glimpses of mountain and valley from 
the loops in the thick walls ; and feel something 
of that exhilaration which caused count and cow- 
herd to take hands and dance awa 



The Valais is the Cinderella of the cantons. 
A long, narrow trench, excavated by the Rhone 
and its parent glaciers, it is completely shut 
out from the rest of the world by gigantic 
mountain- walls, which approach so closely to- 
wards the bend in the river as almost to forbid 
egress. Such a cul-de-sac seems to have been 
designed as a refuge for the unfitted to survive ; 
and indeed Hans Andersen's chamois hunter 
described it as having been a bagful of cretins 
and hot air. Then, he told little Rudy, the 
French came and made a hole at each end of 
the bag, killed all the cretins, and let in the air. 
Since then a real hole has been made through the 
Simplon mountain, and another is being pierced 
in the Lotschberg to the north of it. So the four 
winds of heaven blow now through the valley, 
and the cretins have had no choice but to slink up 
the lateral slopes. Along the furrow of the Rhone 
rush trains from Paris to Milan and Brindisi, soon 
to be met near Brieg by the expresses from Berne 
and Germany and the far north. The Valais, 
so closed in that we marvel that its existence 
should have been suspected by the ancients, 
has now become a great international highway. 



It is a country of contrasts, this Swiss canton. 
Ice and snow permanently cover a larger pro- 
portion of ground here than in any other of the 
confederate states. Nowhere else in Switzer- 
land do the mountains soar so high, or is Nature 
more majestic and terrible in her frown. The 
Matterhorn and Monte Rosa delight the most 
venturesome mountaineers, and between these 
peaks lane-like valleys run headlong down 
through a score of climates to the Rhone, where 
little white cities sit embowered in orchards and 
vineyards, scorching beneath an African sky. 
In the canton Valais the camel and the reindeer 
might each find a home. 

Its isolation notwithstanding, the region has 
from time immemorial been the battleground of 
contending races, of Latin and Celt, Romance 
against Teutonic. The skeletons of castles 
which gleam white on the hillocks by the Rhone 
are mementoes of the long struggle between 
barons and people, feudal lord and chartered 
town, which was the Pax Romana of the bastard 
Empire. Conquered by the legionaries after a 
great fight at Octodura or Martigny, fifty-seven 
years before Christ, the people of the valley be- 
came so Romai ised as to lose all traces of their 
Celtic origin. Succeeding waves of barbarians 
left little pools behind them, which also became 
absorbed in the Latin stream. Meanwhile a 
bishop arose at Sion, and to him Rodolphe III., 


> • V » > 




The Valais 

last king of the second Burgundy, granted 
sovereign rights over the valley from the 
Furka down to the Trient. This was in the year 
999, and for seven hundred years the country 
was involved in the hopeless, bloody tangle of 
the mediaeval political structure. Jurisdiction 
overlapped jurisdiction, there were lords 
spiritual and lords temporal, towns free, towns 
half-free, towns subject ; barons who held of 
the emperor, barons who held of the bishop, 
barons who held of both ; freemen, serfs, ec- 
clesiastics ; all sorts and conditions of men, 
owning each half-a-dozen masters. No wonder 
that the race withered, that disease flourished, 
that rapine and murder ran riot, where no man 
knew whose business it was to govern or where 
he might call the land his own. 

In the thirteenth century a band of Germans 
from the Hasli valley near Meiringen crossed 
the Grimsel and settled on the upper reaches of 
the Rhone. About the same time we first hear 
of the seven dizains or communes which the 
bishop had endowed with certain liberties. 
These were Sion, Sierre, Leuk, Visp, Raron, 
Brieg, and Conches. All but the two first of 
them became thoroughly Germanised by the 
settlers, which was perhaps why the Emperor 
Charles IV. was persuaded in the year 1354 to 
confirm their charters and to forbid the Count 
of Savoy to interfere with them. In defiance 



of the Imperial injunction, upon the murder of 
Bishop Tavelh in 1375, Count Amadeus VI. 
promptly installed his cousin, Edouard of Belley, 
in the vacant see. The communes, however, 
would have none of the new prelate and drove 
him out of Sion. Thenceforward there was 
open war between the men of the dizains and 
their neighbour from over the Alps. The Ger- 
mans of the upper Valais inflicted a severe 
defeat on the Count's lieutenant and his allies in 
the country itself, but the Latins of Sion and 
Sierre had to ask mercy of the Count upon their 
knees. In the end Savoy was left in possession 
of all the territory below the Trient. Checked 
in this direction, the men of the upper communes 
allied themselves with the forest cantons, and 
occupied themselves with expeditions into the 
valley of Ossola. They again met with a re- 
verse, and in their rage and disappointment 
looked round for a weaker foe. They found one 
in an ally of the hated Savoy, the lord of Raron, 
a noble who had already offended the people by 
his insistence upon the elementary laws of 
sanitation. This early municipal reformer was 
condemned in a popular assembly near Brieg 
by a process peculiar to the Valais. A man 
stood in the midst of the crowd holding the 
Mazze, a huge club on which was carved the rude 
likeness of a human face in deep affliction. 
The grotesque image was questioned as to the 


The Valais 

author of his woes. "Is it Sihnen ? Is it 
AsperHn ? " The Mazze was silent. "Is it 
Raron ? " The image bowed its head. There- 
upon the men present raised their arms to 
signify adhesion to the cause of the wronged, 
and each drove a nail into the symbolical 
victim's body in testimony of their sympathy — 
which seems an odd way of expressing it. Thus 
adorned, the Mazze was carried round like a fiery 
cross ; wherever it appeared the people took up 
arms. Before the righteous wrath of the un- 
washed, the hygienist of Raron fled in dismay. 
The men of the dizains wrecked his castles and 
those of his allies. Upon the intervention of 
Berne, the communes made good the damage 
they had done, but the nobles were only suffered 
to return upon relinquishing all their feudal 
claims. After this, I presume, the worthy 
townsfolk were free to build dung-heaps in the 
open street and no one had to wash his face more 
than once a year. 

Having thus crushed the nobles and vindicated 
the rights of the dirty, the Germans of the 
Valais in 1457 scored a final victory over their 
Latin compatriots by getting one of their 
number, Walther Supersaxo, elected bishop. 
They next allied themselves with Berne, and, 
finding that the Count of Savoy was leagued 
with Charles the Bold against their ally, over- 
ran the lower Valais and held it by right of 



sword. Savoy never recovered her hold on the 

Switzerland is the land of strange aristo- 
cracies. So far from regarding themselves as 
the liberators of the people downstream, the 
people upstream regarded them as their sub- 
jects and deemed themselves their lords. Out- 
wardly it was merely the ridiculous supremacy 
of one group of hamlets over another ; in reality 
it was the domination of German over Latin- 
Celt and of the men who had always held their 
own over the men who had not. As in Vaud, 
the Latins had good reason to regret the change 
of masters. In 15 12 the little state, thus 
aggrandised, took part in the Milanese war, and 
was henceforward reckoned an ally of the Swiss 
confederates. Her weight was always thrown 
on the side of the Catholic cantons, but the 
Protestants were numerous enough to secure 
toleration. Combining with these dissenters, 
the democrats of the dizains in 1613 wrung from 
the chapter of the vacant see a renunciation of 
all the bishop's temporal powers over the valley. 
Soon after, Antoine Stockalper, a member of one 
of the most famous families in the region, was 
detected in a conspiracy to restore the Episcopal 
authority. He was tortured and beheaded at 
Leuk. But no gratitude was shown to the Pro- 
testants, who had a hard fight to preserve their 
liberties down to the approach of the Revolution. 


The Valais 

As in Vaud, so in Valais. Upon the news of 
what was passing in France, the downtrodden 
peasantry of the lower valley rose against the 
bailiffs set over them by the seven dizains. They 
were subdued and cruelly punished. But when 
the French army appeared on the frontiers of 
Vaud, the village oligarchy thought conciliation 
the wiser policy. In the cathedral of Sion they 
solemnly renounced all claims to supremacy 
over their countrymen in the lower Valais, and 
declared them admitted to equal political rights. 
They might have spared themselves this ser- 
render, for presently the whole Valais was 
annexed to the Frenchified Helvetic confedera- 
tion. The men of the seven dizains sullenly 
acquiesced. The moment the gjQgian bayonets 
gleamed on the Simplon they threw off the 
mask, and attacked the French with unex- 
ampled fury. Having taken an officer prisoner, 
they buried him up to the waist and stoned him 
to death. The French took a fearful revenge. 
They fell upon these savages by night, and cut 
them to pieces ; they drove their Muscovite 
allies helter-skelter over the Alps and ravaged 
the valley from Sion to the Furka. 

Unluckily for the reactionaries of the Valais, 

Napoleon had perceived that the shortest road 

into Italy lay through their country. With 

scowls and inward apprehension, the village 

tyrants beheld the emissaries of civilisation at 



work, making roads, bridging streams, levelling 
rocks, and finally ringing round the Simplon 
itself with a broad highroad — fit for cannon — 
into Italy. The conquest of their valley, the 
greybeards groaned, was now for ever accom- 
plished. The armies of Europe could march 
at will up and down the Rhone ; worse still, they 
might be followed by pestilent ideas of freedom 
and fraternity. 

In 1802 Napoleon, to remove his road from 
the control of the Helvetic confederation, sud- 
denly erected Valais into the Rhodanic Republic. 
In 18 10 as abruptly he declared this ephemeral 
state a part of the French empire under the 
name of Department of the Simplon. We can 
imagine with what joy the Germans of the seven 
dizains, yearning for the Egyptian night, wel- 
comed the Austrian invaders three years later. 
True, they had to join the reorganised con- 
federation ; but they took care in framing their 
cantonal constitution to secure the ascendancy 
of the upper valley over the much more popu- 
lous lower. Nowhere were aristocratic privileges 
more tenaciously maintained than in Switzer- 
land, possibly because they represented in so 
many cases the tradition of the sword. For 
over thirty years the little country was torn 
between the Conservative and Liberal factors, 
representing roughly the German and French 
elements of the population. In 1839 there was 


The Valais 

open war in the valley. There was a Liberal 
Government at Sion, a reactionary Government 
at Sierre. The former defeated the latter in a 
pitched battle at Bramois. Thinking them- 
selves betrayed by their commander, De Courten, 
the losers murdered his aged brother in his own 
house. A savage streak ran ever through these 
men of the upper glaciers. In 1844 they turned 
the tables on their opponents and defeate 1 
them with considerable bloodshed at Trient. 
Having secured control of the canton, they 
carried it into the Sonderbund, and shared the 
overthrow of that ill-fated combination. Even 
when the other Catholic cantons had laid down 
their arms, Valais, in her wolfish, stubborn way, 
meditated resistance ; but wisdom prevailed 
over ferocity, and her council by a narrow 
majority decided on submission to the central 

Since the triumphant entry of the federal 
troops, Sion has become the seat of an in- 
tensely Liberal Government, but, half-feudal, 
half-rustic, still bears on her physiognomy the 
impress of her past. High over the town, the 
bishop's castle of Tourbillon mounts guard over 
the valley ; southward, you may climb up to the 
better-preserved stronghold of Valeria, enshrin- 
ing the ancient chapel of St Catharine, and 
thence look down on a third castle, that of 
Majoria, first inhabited by the town major or 




governor, then by the bishop when he lost his 
temporal power. The actual residence of his 
lordship adjoins the cathedral, a rather pleasing 
structure described in the guide-book as a 
mixture of Romanesque and Early Pointed 
architecture. One of the few " sights " in the 
little town is the house of George Supersaxo, a 
sixteenth-century member of a famous local 
family. He was the leader of the French 
faction, despite his German descent, and was 
driven out of the country, to die within sight of 
it at Vevey. He it was who demolished the 
castle of Batraz built by Peter of Savoy in 1260 
in the vicinity of Martigny. He was the father 
of twenty-three children who are represented 
with him and his wife over an altar in the pil- 
grimage church of Glis. 

Supersaxo flourished during the episcopate of 
Matthew Schinner, whose life reminds one of that 
of his contemporary Wolsey. He was born, the 
child of poor parents, near Viesch, and with great 
difficulty and amid severe privations succeeded 
in educating himself for the priesthood. Luckily 
for him one of his uncles became Bishop of Sion, 
and, recognising the young ecclesiastic's talents, 
after a time abdicated in his favour. The new 
prelate distinguished himself by his zeal for 
the papacy and was employed by Juhus H. to 
preach a crusade against the French throughout 
Switzerland. To his solicitations was due in 


The Valais 

great part the defeat of the invaders of the Milan- 
ese. In 1516, Schinner was sent to the Court of 
England, as envoy to the Emperor Maximilian, 
and obtained a heavy subsidy from Henry VIII. 
to carry on the war against France. The Bishop 
of Sion became a powerful prince, and was 
rewarded for his services to the Pope by the 
cardinal's hat — an honour very rarely conferred, 
I believe, on the Swiss or their subject nation- 

Brieg, the next most important town in the 
Valais — now, perhaps, the most important — is 
a Spanish-looking place, also abounding in 
memorials of the aristocratic period. It was 
the residence of many wealthy families engaged 
in trade with Italy. The foremost of these were 
the Stockalpers, who attained in the seventeenth 
century to the position held by the Pfyffers at 
Lucerne. Gaspard Stockalper was called the 
King of the Simplon. He was a knight of the 
Empire, a citizen of Milan, a baron of Savoy, 
grand bailiff of his own country. Having 
amassed an immense fortune in the salt trade, 
he built the enormous palace which still remains 
the largest private building in Switzerland. 
Composed of several wings and enclosing many 
courts, this mansion is redeemed from mere 
heaviness by its tall, graceful towers, which, 
surmounted by tin cupolas in the Saracen style, 
form landmarks for miles around. A graceful 



double bridge named the Bridge of Sighs leads 
across the public street to the curious chapel. 
Within, the vast halls are given up to dust and 
silence, except in the wing where the Simplon 
railway administration has installed its offices. 
The palace by its splendour excited the jealousy 
and cupidity of the dizains of Valais. In 1678, 
Stockalper was cited before an irregularly con- 
stituted tribunal to answer a charge of malversa- 
tion. Knowing v/hat justice to expect from his 
judges, the old Baron fled across the Alps, 
abandoning the greater part of his immense 

A hospice on the pass commemorates the 
charity of this unfortunate merchant-prince ; 
while the great Ursuline convent, dating from 
1663, illustrates his zeal for the Catholic faith. 
Brieg has fared better at the hands of time and 
the invader than Visp, to the westward, whose 
old mansions are now divided into wretched 
tenements ; or than the once wealthy villages, 
higher up the Rhone, which one passes in dreary 
and apparently endless succession till the work of 
man becomes lost in the glory of the everlasting 

Near Viesch is one of the most curious and 
beautiful sights of Switzerland, the Marjelen See, 
the lake which disappears at intervals in a single 
night. Most probably when you have toiled up 
the bridle-path that meanders up and round the 


The Valais 

mountain you will come suddenly upon a lake 
whose still, deep blue waters reflect the shadows 
of the snow-crowned peaks of the Strahlhorn 
and the Eggishorn. Roughly triangular in 
form, it measures between two and three miles 
from base to apex, with an average breadth of a 
quarter of a mile. The western shore is over- 
hung by lofty, sharply serrated cliffs hewn out 
of virgin ice. They are an intense hyacinth- 
blue in colour, except at the margin of the waters, 
where they are broken up into floes and small 
boulders of dazzling whiteness, just as though 
some old magician had frozen the waters as they 
broke in foam. Through the wonderful trans- 
lucency of this ice barrier you may see into the 
fissured heart of the great Aletsch glacier. If it 
is summer and the Swiss sunshine is beating 
down, the cliffs will slowly transform them- 
selves, before your eyes, into a thousand fairy 
shapes amid a kaleidoscopic blaze of colour. 

But it may be that you will find only a deep 
hollow where you looked for a lake, with cliffs 
double the height the guide-books lead you to 
expect. For sixteen times within the last 
thirty years, after an exceptional spell of heat, 
have the ice walls given way under the enormous 
pressure of the waters. Fissures appear in all 
directions, until quite suddenly the wall is 
pierced right through and under the Aletsch 
glacier. The lake water moves swiftly away, 



often to carry havoc and destruction into the 
valley of the Rhone. 

You will be particularly fortunate if you 
should visit the Marjelen See when this strange 
subsidence is taking place, for the lake gives 
no warning of its coming disappearance. For 
about a day there is a gradual sinking of the 
level of the waters that would pass unnoticed 
but for the ice-floes which are stranded. Then 
suddenly comes a roar from beneath the glacier, 
and the thunder of rushing waters. Huge ice- 
boulders lower themselves from the overhanging 
cliffs and come crashing and splashing into the 
blue-green waters down below. Lower and 
lower sinks the water ; ever more intensely blue 
are the masses of ice, newly exposed to view. 

Terror seizes the hearts of shepherds or cow- 
boys who hear the sinister sound. They will 
leave their cattle on the mountain-side and fly 
down into the Rhone valley to warn the in- 
habitants of the approaching menace. Custom 
decrees that the first messenger who brings the 
news shall be presented with a new pair of shoes 
at the expense of the valley : a reward, one 
would think, hardly proportionate to the ser- 
vice rendered when the valley folk are thus 
enabled to remove their flocks and herds to a 
place of safety. 

Above Viesch you ma}/ follow the Rhone to 
its famed cavern in the ice, and beyond, where 



. * ■■ » : .» 

»-, . . -. 

s ; •: w^\ 






The Valais 

the road from Uri zigzags down the Furka Hke 
frozen forked lightning. Over this pass and the 
gloomy Grimsel, by which the first Germans 
came into the Valais, pours year after year a 
dense, enthusiastic, clamant stream of tourists 
of every nationality under heaven. Some are 
absorbed by the railway at Brieg and distributed 
over Savoy, the Pays de Vaud, and the world 
beyond; others are disgorged at Visp and di- 
verted into the long valley of Zermatt. Com- 
paratively few penetrate the two parallel valleys 
beyond, those of Anniviers and Kerens, which 
were, I fancy, first described by Victor Tissot. 
The people of the Val d' Anniviers are said to be 
descended from the Huns ; and you have only 
to look at their ugly faces to believe it. They 
are at any rate nomadic, like the tribesmen of 
Attila, and in the vintage season migrate to 
Sierre, where you may see their cottages stand- 
ing empty at other times of the year. " The 
parish priest of Vissoye," says M. Tissot, " mi- 
grates at the head of his flock, with the school- 
master, the president, and all the authorities. 
The families follow one after the other, like a 
caravan in the desert. First comes the mule, 
heavily laden, led by the head of the family, 
with the little children snugly packed in the 
panniers, like birds in their nests ; then the 
wife, taking charge of the goats, the sheep, and 
the calves ; and behind her the pigs trot grunt- 

G 97 


ing along, driven by a thin little giri with tangled 
hair, or a toothless old woman armed with a 
thick stick." The vineyards at Sierre are owned 
by the communes of the valley jointly, and the 
people go out to cultivate them as a body to the 
sound of fife and drum. 

They must, I imagine, welcome this annual 
outing, for life in their own valley is so cheer- 
less that it is called by pious people the Valley 
of Heaven. The thoughts of these curious 
peasants turn perpetually gravewards. Mar- 
riage and birth are for them the occasions of 
sighings and groanings ; but a funeral is the 
pretext for universal rejoicing and for display. 
*' We save up all our lives for our funerals," 
observe the peasants ; a practice which sug- 
gests that their ancestors should be looked for 
among the London poor rather than on the 
steppes of Asia. They know neither song nor 
dance ; and like most people who think a lot 
about a future life, they devote all their interests 
and energies to increasing their worldly posses- 
sions. In striking contrast to these sad, grasping 
folks are their neighbours of the Val d'Herens. 
They are a vigorous race, who love wine, woman, 
and song, gaudy costumes, and an occasional 
fight ; for which reason the pious people afore- 
said call this the Devil's Valley. Not having 
the wisdom of the children of hght, they do not 
ask a dowry from their brides, but make of their 


The Valais 

marriages a festival to which all their neigh- 
bours are bidden. " In former days the bride's 
maids wore crowns of artificial flowers, while 
the bridegroom and his men wore black coats. 
After the first meal the guests went out and 
threw into the air handfuls of apples, which they 
caught in their hats ; and those who caught the 
most were sure to be the happiest during the 
year. Then they promenaded through the 
village, and danced on the green to the music 
of a violin." 

Knowing something of the characters of the 
two peoples, you will not be surprised to hear 
that in the struggles for freedom in the first half 
of last century the natives of the Heavenly 
Valley took no part, but that the merry men of 
Evolene in the Val d' Kerens fought and bled for 
their own and their countrymen's liberty. The 
Anniviards were no doubt too busy burying their 
dead and adding field to field to help them, ex- 
cept by their prayera. 



In a small room in the natural history museum 
of Berne is preserved the stuffed body of Barry, 
the illustrious St Bernard dog. He is exhibited 
here as a specimen of the Swiss fauna. His 
virtues and the nobility of his career deserve a 
monument far grander than that of the mer- 
cenaries of Lucerne. They died warring against 
their fellow-men in defence of a bad government : 
the dog battled with the giant forces of nature 
in the service of humanity, and died after saving, 
some say forty, others, seventy, lives of men and 

In the huge, dignified dog you have bene- 
volence and heroism incarnate. His body is 
itself a monument and embodiment of all that 
is good in this world — beauty, courage, kind- 
ness, abnegation, fidelity. Of how many of the 
greatest heroes and sages could as much be 
said ? Pertransiit Barry benefaciendo should be 
the device on a monument to which all mankind 
should subscribe in gratitude to their best and 
most unselfish friend. It is true that if the 
merits of our dogs were recorded, the fame of our 
best men would be sadly dimmed in contrast. 
The best with us is the commonplace with the dog. 


The Dogs of St Bernard 

It was not, unfortunately, given to Barry to 
die on the field of honour, as has so often been 
asserted. According to this legend he was 
shot by a benighted traveller whom he was about 
to rescue, and who mistook him for a wolf. 
Barry escaped the honours of martyrdom, and 
was alive at Berne as late as 1815. With him 
the original St Bernard breed seems to have 

The pass which has given its name to these 
canine lords was itself named after a hol}^ man, 
who dwelt there in the tenth century. This 
Bernard was the son of a Savoyard baron, 
Richard de Menthon, and is said, of course, 
to have manifested the usual uncanny, saintly 
characteristics in his earliest childhood. How- 
ever, he could do something more than resist 
temptation, and when the Saracens, who had 
settled on the Riviera, penetrated the valley of 
Aosta, he armed the people against them and 
drove them far to the south. The infidels had, 
unfortunately, destroyed the hospice which had 
long existed on the head of the pass into the 
Rhone valley. This Bernard rebuilt, and in that 
dreary solitude — still the highest habitation but 
one in Europe — he passed the rest of his pil- 
grimage on earth. 

The pass in those days was the most fre- 
quented highway into Italy. Over it came pil- 
grims from France and the Netherlands and even 



distant Britain on their way to Rome and 
Jerusalem. Every year you might hope to see 
an archbishop, sometimes an emperor with a 
splendid train of knights and men-at-arms. 
The hospice rose in importance, and in the twelfth 
century was entrusted to the Augustinians, or 
Austin canons, as they were called in England. 
Every passer-by left an offering — unlike the 
modern traveller's, strictly proportionate to his 
means — and the monastery grew wealthy and 
powerful. Their riches could have benefited 
the canons themselves but little in those chilly 
solitudes, but doubtless flowed into the coffers 
of the mother house at Martigny and other 
foundations of the widespread order. Century 
after century went by, but these good men kept 
eternal watch on that high pass, ready to succour 
the benighted wanderer and to guide the way- 
farer into the plains below. At the end of the 
eighteenth century travellers of a new kind 
came across the pass and returned year after 
year. Europe was up in arms, and the legions of 
France and Austria poured over the mountains 
in dark and turbulent streams. In May 1800 
came Napoleon himself. ^^ With him the wealth 
of the monastery seemed to depart. With the 
opening of other passes, the traffic over the St 
Bernard rapidly lessened. Fewer and fewer 
travellers cross every year, and these few are 
mostly poor Italian labourers. The occasional 


The Dogs of St Bernard 

tourists that swell their ranks are not remarkable 
for their munificence, grudging the monks the 
bare cost of their accommodation. Every year 
the task of maintaining the hospice becomes 
harder. Meanwhile such are the rigours of their 
life that the monks can endure this stern service 
only twelve or fifteen years. Then, worn out 
and with shattered health, they are sent down 
to the mother house of Martigny. 

The dogs, who share their heroic labours, are 
fabled to be descended from St Bernard's own 
four-legged companion, who, to judge from the 
picture in the refectory, was a bloodhound. 
However, the St Bernard to this day has a good 
many of the bloodhound's marks. Another 
tradition has it that the parents of the race were 
a native mastiff and a Danish bull bitch. What- 
ever their progenitors may have been, persistent 
in-breeding, with a special function in view, 
produced in the long run a distinct species of 
dog. The race seems to have continued pure 
down to the days of Barry. In 1815, the winter 
being of unusual severity, the females, contrary 
to custom, were called on for service on the pass. 
They nearly all perished, and it was suspected 
that in-breeding had weakened the most valu- 
able qualities of the tribe. At the beginning of 
1830, therefore, the surviving dogs were paired 
with long-haired Newfoundland bitches. The 
results were not uniformly satisfactory. Many 



of the dogs inherited the long hair of their 
mothers, and were Hable to be weighed down 
and buried by accumulations of snow. They 
were sold, therefore, or given to benefactors of 
the monastery, among others to M. Pourtales 
of Muri, M. Rougement of Morat, and Colonel 
Risold of Berne. These dogs were red, with 
white marks, black face and neck, strongly built, 
deep - chested, and taller than the living re- 
presentatives of the breed. From them are 
descended nearly all the St Bernards of this 
country, into which, to the great contentment 
of all true patriots, they were introduced in 
the sixties. A St Bernard dog is said to 
have been seen in England in the thirteenth 
century, and another, looking more like a 
mastiff, was brought from the hospice to Leasowe 
Castle in the Waterloo year ; but neither of 
these animals left any posterity recognised in 
the stud-books. 

It is the short-coated cousins of our British 
dogs who do duty on the great St Bernard. 
During the winter the canons send out patrols 
in each direction, composed of two of their 
number, or of their lay assistants, the sturdy 
marronniers. These parties are each preceded 
by two of the dogs, one of whom carries a little 
keg of kirsch round his neck, the other a small, 
tightly-rolled blanket. If they come upon a 
fallen traveller, one of the two stays by him, 


*' * -» a ^ 
> ',» > J > 

) •> : > 

• * -t 










The Dogs of St Bernard 

licking his face and hands, while the other goes 
back to fetch his human assistants. It is the 
special duty of these noble dogs to trace the 
passes. The peculiar formation of the moun- 
tains makes it impossible for the most ex- 
perienced guides to do this, after a fresh fall of 
snow, unassisted by canine sagacity and instinct. 
There is a similar hospice on the Simplon, 
served by the same community and the same 
race of dogs. These creations of mediaeval 
charity and brotherliness are rapidly becoming 
obsolete, now that the Alps are pierced at so 
many points with tunnels and the passes them- 
selves are better managed and engineered. It 
would be a pity if the splendid faculties of the 
St Bernard dog were suffered to die out and 
the enormous potentialities of the canine race 
for love and service were again wasted. Man 
tends to become more and more of a machine. 
In a world composed of electricians, engineers, 
biologists, vivisectors, water-works directors and 
what not, we shall sadly miss the unselfish, 
emotional, noble-hearted dog. 



Unlike the faithful hound immortaHsed by 
Longfellow, the guide grows every day more in 
demand, as the passion for mountain-climbing 
becomes more general. It has always seemed 
to me a fine calHng this, mastering the moun- 
tains and braving the avalanche. The responsi- 
bility of the guide is immense, his authority at 
the moment of danger unquestioned. He also 
is a mercenary, if you will, but his greatest glory 
is to save life. The good guide emulates the 
virtues of the St Bernard dog. 

Even for those bom in the shadow of the 
mountains, the training for this manly profession 
is long and arduous. The earlier he makes up his 
mind that he will follow it the better, for as a 
boy he can practise clambering and climbing on 
the lowest slopes of the hills round his village. 
The Swiss schools will look after his physical 
training. At the age of fifteen or sixteen he 
runs errands for the guides, perhaps is able to 
introduce them to clients. Presently he gets 
taken on by one of these great men as a porter, 
and joins the climbing parties. He may pass 
five or six summers thus, all the while keeping 

his eyes and ears well open and familiarising 


The Guides 

himself with the mountain tracks and the 
practice of his craft. In the winter he studies 
EngHsh, perhaps some other language, and 
spends as much time as he can with his masters. 
At the age of twenty-three he presents him- 
self at the Fiihrerkurs or " guides' course," 
which is held every two years at Sion in the 
Valais, and at other centres. He must bring 
with him a certificate of good character from the 
head of his commune, and testimonials of his 
fitness from well-known guides, extending over 
at least three years. The course is conducted 
by the Swiss Alpine Club, one of the instructors 
being a medical man. The lectures deal with 
the relations of guides and their employers, 
the proper equipment of both, the geography 
and natural history of the candidate's region, 
the use of charts and instruments, and first-aid 
to the injured. Each of these subjects occupies 
a day, and four more days are devoted to test- 
ing the abilities and fitness of the aspirants. 
An adjoining peak is selected, and the party, 
professors and students, ascend to the summit 
and there pass the night. The next morning 
at this breezy altitude a viva voce examina- 
tion takes place, and the would-be guides are 
questioned as to the paths they have taken, 
their peculiar methods of dealing with obstacles, 
their reasons for having taken this or that 
course, the distances of adjoining mountains, 



and of the villages below. This concluded, the 
party descends by the most difficult route that 
can be devised. The candidates are then sub- 
jected to a week's military discipline, and at 
the end of that time may hope to be presented 
with the diploma of a fully qualified guide. At 
Chamounix, before anyone can sit for examina- 
tion he must be certified by a commissioned 
guide to have made ten dangerous ascents, 
including the complete tour of Mont Blanc. 

Having thus superintended the education of 
the guide, the Swiss Alpine Club never ceases 
to watch over his welfare. Some years ago it 
introduced a scheme, which may or may not 
have become law, for the compulsory insurance 
of guides. The club was prepared to pay five- 
eighths of the premium, if the Government would 
contribute another eighth ; so that a guide 
could, for instance, by paying eight francs a 
year, insure his life for 4000 francs. Those 
acquainted with the psychology of the danger- 
ous trades need not be told that there is 
no great eagerness among these professional 
mountaineers to avail themselves of these ad- 
vantages, even at such a low rate. 

It is not every guide that submits to this 
long noviciate. In an interesting contribution 
to The Traveller, ten years ago, Mrs Aubrey Le 
Blond spoke of the unorthodox beginning of 
Joseph Imboden, of St Nicholas. His father 


The Guides 

would not allow him to embrace this dangerous 
calling, and apprenticed him to a shoemaker. 
Having managed to save twenty francs, he left 
his employer, at the age of sixteen, and took up 
position outside the Riff el Hotel at Zermatt, 
offering his services to every traveller as a 
guide. As he had no certificate and no testi- 
monials, no one would employ him. " At 
last," he said, " my twenty francs were all but 
spent when I managed to persuade a young 
Englishman to let me take him up Monte Rosa. 
I told him I knew the mountain well and would 
not charge him high. So we started. I had 
never set foot on a glacier before or on any 
mountain, but there was a good track up the 
snow, and I followed this, and there were other 
parties on Monte Rosa, so I copied what they 
did, and roped my gentleman as I saw the 
guides doing theirs. It was a lovely day, and 
we got on very well, and my gentleman was 
much pleased and offered me an engagement to 
go to Chamounix with him over higher passes. 

" I said to him, ' Herr, until to-day I have 
never climbed a mountain, but I am strong and 
active, and I have lived among mountaineers 
and mountains, and I am sure I can satisfy you 
if you will take me.' 

" He was quite ready to do so, and we crossed 
the Col du Geant and went up Mont Blanc, but 

could do no more as the weather was bad. 



Then he wrote a great deal in my book, and 
since then I have never been in want of a gentle- 
man to guide." 

Another amateur guide, less fortunate than 
Imboden, saw no one to imitate when the time 
came to rope his party together. He trusted to 
luck, and put the rope round their necks, walking 
between them himself as if he were leading them 
to. execution. In this way they trudged for 
many hours over mountain and glacier, without, 
strangely enough, breaking their necks. 

The canine virtues by which the Swiss have 
redeemed less honourable occupations have 
been exhibited to a heroic degree by the 
Alpine guides. Their roll of honour would 
reach from the top to the bottom of Mont 
Blanc. There was old Jean Antoine Carrel, who 
died of exhaustion after bringing his party in 
safety through a terrific storm ; there was 
Knabel, who threw himself over the side of an 
ice arete to save the party who, one by one, had 
been dragged by the fall of their companions 
down the other side ; and Gentinette, whose 
comrade had been killed before his eyes by a 
falling stone precipitating the whole party into 
a crevasse, and who, himself wounded, carried, 
pulled, and pushed his half-conscious charge 
up the steep ice slope into safety. "Never 
return without your party " is a rule to which the 
guides with very few exceptions have always 


The Guides 

lived up. Their skill and endurance have been 
brought into service far from their own land. 
It was Zurbriggen, a Swiss guide, who assisted 
Sir Martin Conway to scale the Andes. Others 
have exercised their craft in Norway, or the Cau- 
casus, and the mighty Himalayas. Wherever 
there is an apparently inaccessible mountain, 
one of these quiet, unpretending Swiss peasants 
will find a way to scale it. 



My earliest recollections of Baden in Aargau 
are not agreeable. They may serve, however, 
as a warning to my countrymen not to place 
their trust in Swiss time-tables. Obsolete Brad- 
shaws, ABC's and time-tables have, I am con- 
vinced, wrecked more lives than our English 
laws and the Goodwin Sands put together. 

For a certain particular reason I wished to 
be in Paris on Wednesday afternoon. Consulting 
a time-sheet displayed at Bellinzona railway ' 
station, I ascertained that a train left Zurich 
about half -past eight on the evening of Tuesday, 
which would bring me to my destination about 
six in the morning. I boarded the St Gotthard 
express with a light heart, congratulating my- 
self that I should have three hours in which to 
dine and digest at Zurich before starting on 
my long night journey. The day was fine. I 
revelled in the sunshine of Switzerland after long 
exposure to the rigours of an Itahan spring. 
The climate of Italy, I long ago decided, is fitted 
only for the manufacture of ice-creams. The 
farther north we went the brighter the sun 
shone. The run down towards the Lake of 
Lucerne was as invigorating as a toboggan 


o 9 » y 

• . ■>:.«:» 

An Old Swiss Watering-Place 

slide. A hardy German even proposed to open 
one of the windows, seeing there were about 
forty passengers breathing the air of the same 
car ; but his hardihood was indignantly checked 
by his fellow-countrymen. Presently a man 
came and sat down beside me. I thought he 
did so because I had taken the precaution of 
sitting opposite an exceedingly pretty girl from 
Lugano. But it seemed that he knew me. 
He was one of a jovial band of commercial 
travellers whom I had met in the train between 
Brescia and Milan. Though an Italian, he lived 
at Winterthur, and thither he was now re- 
turning. He had to change trains at Zurich. 
I expressed myself, in Pickwickian French, as 
happy in the prospect of his company. In 
reality, I cursed him for putting an end to all 
chance of a conversation with the pretty girl. 
I told him I was going on that night to Paris. 
He said I would have to hurry, as the last train 
was timed to depart a few minutes after our 
arrival. I assured him he was wrong. He said 
he had never heard of the eight-o'clock train, 
but made no doubt that I was right. By the 
time we got to Ziirich I was quite fond of the 
man. He said he had half a mind to pass the 
night there, but on issuing from the station we 
found the streets swarming with people and the 
hotels besieged. At a turning we were con- 
fronted by a group of fellows in the costume 

H H3 


of the fourteenth century. There was a great 
carnival in full swing. Zurich was celebrating 
some historic event and the turnvereine had 
assembled. Not a seat was to be had in bier- 
halle, restaurant, or bun-shop. The Italian 
was dismayed. " No chance of a bed here to- 
night ! " he muttered ', " 1 must go on at once 
to Winterthur." And he incontinently fled. I, 
on the contrary, was delighted that I had come 
at so opportune a moment. Never could I have 
seen the city so gay, so animated. It was 
brimming and frothing with the old mediaeval 
German jollity. As to dinner, I could have it 
on the train. In the meantime it was amusing 
to watch the desperation of the visitors turned 
away from one hotel after another. 

I strolled, tired, but airily, on to the vast 
departure platform, and inquired from which 
platform the "eight — et cetera" for Paris 
might be expected to leave. The porter stared 
at me in surprise and contempt. " There is no 
such train," he informed me coldly; " the last 
train for Paris left two hours ago. There is no 
other till to-morrow morning." 

The time-sheet at Bellinzona gave the winter 
service, to delude homeless foreigners and keep 
them in Switzerland in the interests of the hotel 

I resigned myself to the inevitable. No 
matter, I would pass the night in Zurich. But 


An Old Swiss Watering-Place 

now the animation" of the town, the plight of 
the merrymakers, assumed a new and terrible 
significance. The horror of my situation dawned 
upon me. I could not get away from the town, 
but perhaps I could not stay in it either. A 
frantic search, extending over three hours, satis- 
fied me that shelter in Zurich was not to be had 
that night for love or money. The fatal word 
" Besetzt " bade fair to be engraved on my 
brain. I returned to the station. I approached 
the same porter. " I must get out of this town," 
I told him ; " this is no place for me. Is there 
a train going anywhere in the direction of Paris 
to-night ? " He replied with a scornful ex- 
pression which I cannot explain that I could go 
as far as Often. When I boarded the train I 
found that fifty or so persons in the same plight 
as I had also hit on the same expedient. They 
also were going to Olten. I artfully got out 
at a place named Baden. To my disgust, a 
dozen of these wretches followed me. Near the 
station the friendly light of an inn shone on us 
through open doors. We all broke into a run. 
I led. Within a stride of the threshold I fell 
prone over my gladstone bag. The field swept 
by with a rush. I picked myself up only to 
learn that my fall had lost me the only remain- 
ing vacancy on the roof of the dog's kennel. 

Seizing my bag with something between a sob 
and a curse, I charged down the next street. 



Everybody had gone to bed. It began to rain. 
As there seemed to be no poHcemen about, I 
resolved to encamp for the night on a doorstep. 
At that moment a wayfarer hove in sight. I 
was glad to perceive that he was drunk. A 
drunken man would be more likely than any- 
body to know all the inns of a town. I accosted 
him, and he was sober enough to appreciate my 
predicament. With the kindliness born of good 
beer, he gripped one of the handles of my bag, 
and led me, staggering, to the door of an inn 
with the appropriate sign of " The Angel." He 
thundered at the door, hiccoughed good-night, 
and vanished. I became conscious of three dark 
forms surrounding me. These mean wretches 
had tracked me from the station, and were now 
ready to snatch the very blankets from beneath 
me. The door opened, and I fell on to the mat. 
The porter harangued me in the patois of the 
canton Aargau, which I did not understand. I 
brushed him aside and walked upstairs. Talking 
the most horrid gibberish, he showed all four of us 
into a room with three beds. I placed my bag 
on one, and began to undress. In the row that 
followed I took no part or interest. I rather 
gathered that one of the three had ordered the 
room in advance, and would not share it with 
the others. The porter, I suppose, concluded 
from my resolute bearing that it was I who had 
bespoken the room. In the long run two of the 


An Old Swiss Watering-Place 

travellers departed in dudgeon, to sleep in the 
rain, I conjecture, and one of the other beds 
was immediately occupied by a Swiss farmer, 
who slept in his clothes with a bowler hat set 
firmly on his head. 

This experience was somewhat more thrilling 
than it may seem in the narration, and has 
enabled me at all events to applaud the prudence 
of those ladies who keep trains waiting till they 
have received the personal assurance of every 
official on the platform and of the more respect- 
able passengers that it does not go anywhere 
near their destination. Man is too proud to 
ask about trains — he consults the time-table ; 
woman, on the contrary, scans her Bradshaw with 
obvious misgivings and goes off to get his in- 
formation confirmed by the bookstall boy or the 
cloakroom attendant. 

In this unexpected manner I found myself in 
the Swiss Baden, a place which I had never 
thought or wished to visit. I knew vaguely 
that it had been the scene of many important 
events in the history of Switzerland, and that it 
was once the usual meeting-place of the federal 
assemblies. It was selected for this honour, I 
imagine, in order that the austere delegates 
might refresh themselves with the waters and 
relax their sobriety in the gaieties for which the 
place was world-famous. For Baden is the 
Bath or Tunbridge Wells of Switzerland, and 



as such was resorted to by those inveterate 

hoHday-makers, the Romans. In the Middle 

Ages it was the most fashionable and frequented 

spa in Europe. Indeed it seems to have been 

a pleasant enough spot, with manners very 

different from those common to most mediaeval 

communities. Through Baden Poggio Braccio- 

lini passed in 1416, and so delighted was he with 

the place that straightway he sat down and wrote 

to his friend Niccolo Niccoli a long, vivacious 

account of the customs of its inhabitants and 

habitues. " The ancients," he wrote, " used to 

boast of the baths of Puteoli, whose attractions 

drew the Romans in swarms, but I do not 

think they can come near Baden for pleasure, 

nor can they stand comparison in any way. 

For the great charm of Puteoli lay rather in its 

soft climate and splendid buildings than in the 

gaiety of the life of the bathers. But here we 

owe nothing to the scenery, and everything else 

is framed for pleasure ; so that very often I 

think that Venus has come hither from C5^prus, 

bringing in her train joys from every corner of 

the world. And visitors to these waters, though 

they have never read the fantastic tales of 

Heliogabalus, obey so faithfully the goddess' 

pleasant commands, so exactly reproduce her 

tender whims, that though nature is their only 

teacher they are all masters — and mistresses — 

of the arts of love. ..." 


An Old Swiss Watering-Place 

" The wealthy town of Baden . . . lies within a 
circle of mountains, near a wide and swiftly-flowing 
river that falls into the Rhine six miles from the 
town. About half-a-mile away on the river bank 
is a very handsome group of villas, built for 
the use of bathers. A fine square occupies the 
centre, and all round about are splendid inns 
to accommodate the crowd of visitors. 

" Each house has its own private baths for the 
use of the inmates only, and baths both public 
and private number about thirty. Only two, 
however, are public and open to view. These 
are the bathing places of the lower orders, and 
hither flock indiscriminately women and men, 
boys and girls, the two sexes separated only by 
a railing. . . . 

" But in the private houses, bathing is more 
decent. The two sexes are separated by a 
partition ; but this is pierced by tiny windows 
which allow the men and women bathers to take 
refreshments together, to talk to and caress 
each other in their accustomed manner. Above 
the baths is a kind of gallery in which people 
assemble to watch and talk to the bathers. For 
everyone is allowed to come and go as he pleases, 
to chatter and joke with those in the water. The 
women, as they go in and out of the water, make 
a liberal display of their figures ; there are no 
doors nor attendants but no one thinks any evil. 
In many places the baths have but one entrance 



for men and women, and amusing encounters 
often occur between the sexes, both most hghtly 
clad. The men wear bathing drawers, the women 
thin smocks of Hnen, slashed at the sides, so that 
they hide neither the neck, the breast nor arms." 
Poggio goes on to say how the women give 
al fresco entertainments in the baths, to which 
the men are bidden as guests. Himself and his 
companions were invited sometimes to these 
watery feasts. The Italian, however, ungallantly 
refused, not, he hastens to assure us, from 
modesty, " which is considered boorish and ill- 
bred," but because of his ignorance of the 
language. He felt he would appear foolish to 
the syrens of the baths unless he could engage 
them in badinage and compliment. But two 
of his companions, less sensitive, ventured in, 
and Poggio seems torn between contempt for 
the poor figure they cut and envy of the kind- 
ness with which their hostesses received them. 
For his part the chronicler retired to the gallery 
to look on, and thickened the air with exclama- 
tion marks. The ways of the Baden husbands 
were beyond his comprehension. They seemed 
not to regard their wives as personal property ! 
They trusted them freely, half-clad, in the com- 
pany of strange men ! ' ' Permirum est videre 
quanta simplicitate vivant ! " What simple-minded 
fools they must be to imagine their wives would 
not deceive them if they had a chance ! 


An Old Swiss Watering-Place 

Life passes gaily in the water into which the 
visitors plunge some three or four times a day. 
There is dancing, wine and song and playing on 
the harp. "It is a pleasing sight to see the 
young girls ripe for love and wedlock, splendid 
in physique, clad like goddesses, tuning up their 
strings. Their scanty draperies spread out and 
float on the water. You would think them 
second Venuses ! " 

These mermaidens have a pretty custom of 
begging gifts from the spectators, who " shower 
down small coins on the most beautiful, which 
they catch partly in their hands, and partly they 
hold out their garments to receive, falling over 
each other in the scramble, often discovering 
secrets the most carefully hidden. And garlands 
of many-coloured flowers are thrown down to 
them which while still in the water they twist 
round their hair. . . . The mere wishing to be 
sober would be the height of folly." 

But regretfully does Bracciolini feel that the 
height of pleasure is denied him, since he cannot 
speak to the goddesses. There only remains for 
him to feast his eyes on the spectacle, to make 
the girls scramble for flowers and coins, to accom- 
pany them to and from the baths. Perhaps he 
would have had a better time had be been less 

After supper the merrymakers of Baden con- 
tinue their revels on dry land. There is a large 



tree-shaded meadow near the river, where the 
visitors while away the evening with dancing, 
singing and tossing a ball, filled with little 
bells, which all the others try to catch. " I 
think," says the envious Poggio, " that this 
must be the place where the first man was 
created, which the Hebrews call Gamedon, which 
means ' garden of pleasure.' For if pleasure 
can make life blessed, I do not see what this 
place lacks of perfection and of the completest 

Even in Poggio's day the value of the waters 
of Baden in overcoming sterility were recognised, 
and crowds of women flocked thither with that 
end in view. But the gay life attracted even 
more of all ranks and both sexes from every corner 
of the world. " Lovers and their mistresses, 
and all the butterflies of Ufe crowd to the place 
to enjoy the pleasures they desire. Many feign 
sickness of the body, whose only malady is of 
the imagination. You will see many beautiful 
women, without husbands or relatives, with two 
maids and one serving-man, or some ancient 
cousin or chaperon whom it is easier to deceive 
than to entertain. And most of them arrive in 
garments heavy with gold and silver, and decked 
out with jewels ; so that you would imagine them 
to have come for some splendid wedding rather 
than to a watering-place. 

Hither also come vestal virgins, or to speak 



An Old Swiss Watering-Place 

more truly virgin priestesses of Flora. Hither 
come abbots, monks, friars and priests who live 
with more licence than the other visitors : when 
they bathe at the same time as the women, they 
throw aside all their religion, and twist their hair 
with silken ribbons. It is the one object of all 
to flee from sadness, to pursue happiness, to 
think of nothing but how to live joyously, and 
to drink the cup of pleasure to +he dregs. They 
do not bother about dividing up the common 
stock of happiness, but seek to lavish on all what 
is individual." 

And so the light-hearted mediaeval crowd 
passes before our eyes, their joyous hedonism in 
happy contrast to the repression and asceticism 
that passed — and still passes — for virtue. " It 
is wonderful," exclaims the astonished Italian 
traveller, " how in so great a throng of nearly a 
thousand men, of manners the most diverse, no 
quarrels arise, no discords, no brawls nor disagree- 
ments. Husbands see their wives caressed, see 
them alone with strangers, and are in no wise 
troubled or amazed. AU this seems natural 
to their .affectionate minds. And so jealousy, 
which torments most husbands, has no place 
whatever among them. Its name is neither 
known nor heard. . . . 

" Easily contented these people live from day 
to day, turning each day into a festival, without 
seeking after great riches; what wealth they have, 



they enjoy, fearing nothing for the future. If 
misfortune comes to them, they bear it bravely. 
They have a motto which makes them wealthy : 
' He alone has lived, who has lived joyously.' " 

And so regretfully Poggio Bracciolini passes 
on his journey to less idyllic spots. 

Some time within the succeeding century 
the frequenters of this Swiss Eden must have 
eaten of the forbidden fruit. My lord of 
Montaigne, who visited the place in 1580, assures 
us that " ladies who are fain to take their bath 
with daintiness and decency can repair to Baden 
with confidence, for they will be alone in the 
bath, which is like an elegant cabinet, light with 
glazed windows, painted panelling, and clean 
flooring. Everywhere are chairs and small 
tables for reading or gaming while in the bath. 
The bather may empty and fill the bath as often 
as he likes, and will find a chamber adjoining. 
These baths are placed high in a valley com- 
manded by the slopes of high mountains, which 
nevertheless are fertile and well cultivated. The 
water when drunk tastes rather flat and soft, 
like water heated up, and there is a smell of 
sulphur about it, and a certain prickling flavour 
of salt. Amongst the people of the place it is 
chiefly used in the bath, in which they subject 
themselves also to cupping and bleeding, so 
that I have at times seen the water in the two 
public baths the colour of blood. Those who 


An Old Swiss Watering-Place 

drink it by habit take a glass or two at the most. 
The guests as a rule stay six or seven weeks, and 
some or other frequent the baths all through 
the summer. No country sends so many visitors 
as Germany, whence come great crowds." M. de 
Montaigne speaks highly of the accommodation 
provided for these guests. " The lodgment is 
magnificent. In the house where we stayed 
three hundred mouths had to be fed every day ; 
and while we were there, beds were made for 
one hundred and seventy sojourners. It pos- 
sessed seventeen stoves and eleven kitchens, 
and in the house adjoining were fifty furnished 
chambers, the walls of all the rooms being hung 
with the coats-of-arms of all the gentry who had 
lodged therein." 

The itinerant philosopher mentions that there 
are uncovered public baths, frequented by poor 
folk. Though catering for all tastes, among 
others for these of " ladies of daintiness and 
decency," Baden still persisted in the path of 
primitive innocence and made a feature of 
mixed bathing. This was a matter of much 
wonder and amusement to that delightful old 
traveller, Thomas Coryate, the Odcombian leg- 
stretcher, who took the waters here in August 
1608. He remarks, like Poggio, on the extreme 
complaisancy of the husbands who looked on 
at their wives " not only talking and familiarly 
discoursing with other men, but also sporting 



after a very pleasant and merry manner. For 
the verie name of jelousie is odious in this place." 
Mr Coryate adds that notwithstanding he would 
never get accustomed to that sort of thing were 
he a married man ! "At this time of the year," 
he informs us, " many wooers come thither to 
solace themselves with their beautiful mistresses. 
Many of these young ladies had the hair of their 
head very curiously plaited in locks, and they 
wore certaine pretty garlands upon their heads 
made of fragrant and odoriferous flowers. A 
spectacle exceeding amorous." 

There is no such spectacle at the present day 
to lure the traveller from the town of Baden 
to the baths, which, I was informed, lay about 
a mile away. Everything there is conducted 
nowadays with that regard for the proprieties 
which is the glory of the Swiss nation. The 
thought of what used to go on there would 
cause the present frequenters to blush like the 
Jungfrau at sundown. The place, though now 
so demure and sedate, is still extensively patron- 
ised by the Swiss themselves and occasional 
French and Germans. There is a kursaal ; and 
a kur tax, which is not very onerous as it is 
payable by the day and ranges from two to six 
pence a head according to the rank of the 
visitor's hotel. 




Lucerne and Geneva, the two great strongholds 
of Switzerland's rival creeds, have been cap- 
tured by the world, if not by its traditional 
allies, and are the gayest and most frivolous of 
Swiss cities. The Catholic capital had never 
assumed the virtuous airs of the Protestant 
Rome, and has therefore lost less of its original 
character in accepting its later destiny. Lucerne 
remains Catholic while she welcomes the Gentile, 
the Jew, and the heretic with open arms. 
She cherishes old traditions, while she turns a 
smiling face to the world — a white fa9ade of 
gorgeous modern hotels with a kursaal, the very 
rendezvous of fashion and levity, prominent 
among them. Truly there is nothing austere 
or forbidding about this little city set on the 
shore of its green lake, embosomed in yet 
greener hills, and flanked by tall white-capped 
mountains. Lucerne is used to strangers. Her 
importance rose and fell with the rate of traffic 
over the St Gotthard, and to-day she is the 
vortex of the tourist whirl, the centre of the 
foreigner industry. 

In winter no deader spot can well be imagined 
than this. The hotels are shuttered, all the 



shops near them closed. The Hon sculptured 
in the rock — Lucerne's chief monument — ^is 
carefully packed up behind sacking and canvas. 
Ice blocks float in the dark green river, a mist 
veils all the mountains. In the streets you 
meet very few people, and these are the sombrest 
figures. The men are cloaked and hooded, 
the women seem to be wearing all their frocks 
and petticoats at one time, with the dullest, 
drabbest outermost. Dante would be baffled 
to describe a gloom so Cimmerian. It is a kind 
of Eskimo's hell. You hurry to the railway 
station to inquire the next train to anywhere 

But in summer the town is gleaming white 
and dazzlingly sunny, and uncommonly stuffy 
at times. The tourist is in full possession. He 
and she are of all possible varieties. Juno-like 
Viennese ladies swim through bevies of charming 
but dumpy Parisiennes, graceful but immature 
Englishwomen, smart but crude American girls. 
You are brushed aside by a very assertive 
couple from the Fatherland — a bulky dame in a 
drab ulster with a peaked cap set on her flaxen 
curls, accompanied by a fat man breaking out 
of a light frock-coat suit, with which he has the 
effrontery to wear a bowler hat. This interest- 
ing couple are usually followed by one or more 
backfisch — gawky damsels of fifteen or sixteen 
summers, very bony, and with little promise 


> * 

1 ■>"»•-» -a * » 

■ • > • 

J > » 

) ■» • » 1 

» 9 3 











Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

as yet of bulking like mamma, but probably 
wearing spectacles like papa. These odd and 
rather unkindly treated types we are pleased 
to take as representative of their great nation, 
just as the French still cling to Caran d' Ache's 
caricature of us Britons. As likely as not, the 
lilylike woman, exquisitely gowned, who passed 
just now, escorted by a man of the Lewis Waller 
type, are Germans also. The specimens we 
have met most often form our conception of a 
national type. The German who had spent 
his stay in England in one of his Majesty's 
prisons would have as correct an impression 
of English people as most travellers with their 
limited experience obtain. We have some un- 
prepossessing representatives at Lucerne in the 
shape of the cheapest trippers. I understand 
that benevolent agencies will give you a week in 
" Lovely Lucerne " and bring you back again for 
four and a half guineas — not much more than 
'Arry would spend in twice the time at Margate. 
And 'Arry often avails himself of these facilities. 
He is housed generally at chalets and pensions 
well outside the town, but he strolls into it, 
with a cricket cap on his head, a " quiff " or curl 
over his low forehead, a low collar displaying his 
manly neck, a quiet tweed suit, and very yellow 
boots. He has a habit of straying into the 
most expensive tea-shops — even occasionally 
restaurants — and setting the whole place in an 
I 129 


uproar when his bill is presented. He is firmly 
persuaded that he is being swindled whenever 
he is asked to pay for anything. He is always 
inquiring for English steak and for " Guinness " 
and " small Bass," though he knew quite well 
before he started that he would not be able to 
obtain them. He generally buys a great 
quantity of Swiss cigars, and induces his com- 
panions to do the same. Englishmen of all 
ranks, it must be admitted, talk as much about 
tobacco as the Italians do about food and 
Englishwomen about dress. The English cheap 
tripper, then, is not a very dignified or pleasing 
type, but he is immeasurably superior to the 
corresponding type of any other nationality. 
He can eat his food without disgusting his 
neighbours, he is well washed and clear skinned, 
and has a certain pride in his appearance and 
self-respect. I admit that the low-class English- 
man can be a vulgar brute enough, and that in 
no country in the world do women stare more 
insolently and insult each other by stage whispers 
more outrageously than in England ; but for 
sheer unadulterated brutish vulgarity the low- 
class Parisian and Berlin 'Arry can easily bear 
away the palm from the Cockney. 

Herded with these vulgarians are often 
noticed trippers of a very different stamp. 
Lucerne, like the Normandy coast, is specially 
attractive to people whose travel-hunger is out 


Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

of all proportion to their means. There are 
earnest young men from the English midlands, 
insatiably curious for foreign sights and scenes, 
and* pathetically anxious to make their money 
go literally as far as third-class trains will take 
it. There are governesses and elderly unmarried 
women, too, whose sole glimpse of life and 
reality consists in these annual trips abroad. 
These are the correspondents who harass " the 
travel editors " of our illustrated journals with 
inquiries after pensions at three to four francs a 
day and as to the possibility of travelling across 
Spain or Hungary third-class. They advertise 
in the same columns for companions of similarly 
ambitious and inexpensive tastes. Some of 
these " Constant Readers " and " Poor Gentle- 
women " do not seem to care where they go, 
so long as it is " on the Continent." And the 
patient travel editor, realising this, will recom- 
mend them to a " nice, extremely moderate 
place, very quiet " such as Morges or Isleten 
or Bourgy-les-Epinards, which he is " sure they 
would like," with " an English Church service," 
where they can live in a respectable pension 
for ladies only at fifteen francs a week. Not a 
very enjoyable holiday, one would think ; but 
to some of these quiet gentlefolk it means an 
adventure and brings a spice of romance into 
withered, arid Hves. 

Travel or residence abroad under such con- 



ditions is, of course, quite a different thing from 
being "in a fix " or " getting landed," an ex- 
perience which most globe-trotters rather enjoy. 
In what the Germans would call my " wander- 
years," I found myself at Coblenz with about 
five shillings more than my fare to a town in 
France where I wanted to go or to a place in 
England where I didn't. About three of these 
shillings I spent on a reply-paid telegram to my 
French friends, asking them to telegraph at 
once if I could come or not. The reply was to 
be addressed to me at the post-ofhce. I was 
told by the clerk I might expect it within an 
hour. It did not come in an hour, or two hours. 
I began to get anxious and even more hungry. 
I invested a mark in luncheon, walked about 
the Gobenplatz and the Rheinanlagen, and 
called at the post-office every half-hour. No 
reply came by the time the office closed. I had 
now one mark to spare. I spent it on a bed. 
My reply, " Venez de suite," was awaiting mef 
at the office next morning. On consulting the 
fare-table at the station I found I had, after all, 
two marks and a few pfennig more than the 
price of a third-class ticket. But I had to live 
during nearly twenty-four hours ! I solved the 
problem by\lmg fourth-class to the German 
frontier and by living on dry biscuits and water 
throughout that long, hot journey. 

I am quite sure that many of the strangers 


Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

one sees at Lucerne have never been in 
such straits. MingUng with the economically- 
' disposed tourists I have mentioned are those 
splendid and opulent persons who have succeeded 
the travelling milords of the post-and-courier 
days, and seem to spend all their lives in motor 
cars and first-class hotels. Before the motor 
was invented these people must have lived in 
the hotels and sleeping-cars instead, for no one 
ever met them walking or driving. Their views 
of the country even now must be mainly de- 
rived from the windows of such caravanserais 
as the National and the Axenstein. They think 
in terms of hotels rather than towns, and never 
stay long anywhere, except at Nice or Monte 
Carlo. While every English person wants to 
be like them, the Swiss hotel proprietors and 
chefs, who see so much of them and are on such 
familiar terms with them, have no such ambition. 
The Swiss want to be rich, not elegant or smart. 
Perhaps, also, this is because society outside 
the Anglo-Saxon world is divided vertically, not 
horizontally. A man rises within his own 
section, along his own ladder of life — from a 
humble hotel servant he rises to be a big hotel 
proprietor, just as the little artist aspires to 
the rank of a great artist. Each aims at 
eminence in his own calling. With us it is 
different. Men of all professions aim at the 
same goal, and none thinks himself successful 



till he is received, not by the heads of his own 
profession, but by the governing, supreme set, 
Society with the large S. In Switzerland every 
bear climbs his own pole. 

At Lucerne the kursaal is a common meeting- 
place for all sorts of visitors, of all nationali- 
ties. The five-guinea trippers come there, with 
their caps crammed in their pockets, to risk a 
five-franc piece on the chance of the spinning 
pea, and feel that they are gamblers indeed. 
They rub shoulders with enormous Hebrews in 
" smokings," as the French call dinner-jackets, 
and with their beshawled, white-shouldered 
womenfolk. Casinos and gambling places re- 
semble each other very much all the world over, 
but here you soon perceive that the gamesters 
are not in earnest and that no one is likely, in 
consequence of big losses, to pitch himself into 
the lake just outside. From the windows of the 
big hotels often proceeds a sound of revelry 
by night ; the foreigners are dancing even in 
Lucerne, which used to frown on such dangerous 
frivolity and limited it to three or four days in 
the year. 

The strains of the " Merry Widow " penetrate 
even the cloisters of the mother church of the 
canton, dedicated to the patron saint of sports- 
men, St Leger, or St Leodegar, a name from 
which philologists, in a way known only to 
themselves, derive that of the town. The 


Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

church keeps abreast of the times and has organ 
recitals every evening, which you pay a franc 
to hear. The building dates only from the 
sixteenth century — the towers are so old — but 
as a foundation dates from 750, when a monastery 
of Benedictines was established here. This was 
the beginning of Lucerne. A small fishing 
village sprang up, which in 1291 was sold, with 
other Swiss fiefs, by the abbot Berchtold to the 
house of Hapsburg. This change of masters led 
to the formation of the league between the 
forest cantons, which Lucerne herself was slow 
to join. Indeed, her men attacked Unterwalden 
when the men of that canton were helping their 
confederates at Morgarten. In 1332, however, 
the town joined the league, and won a recogni- 
tion of partial independence from her overlord. 
Some of the citizens still hankered after the 
Austrian yoke. In 1343 they met to betray 
their native town, in a vault under the Tailors' 
Gildhouse. A boy chanced to penetrate into 
the cellar. " Hearing the sound of muttering," 
writes Etterlin, the old chronicler, " and the 
clashing of arms, he was afraid and thought the 
place haunted, and turned to flee ; but some men 
gave chase, and held him fast. They threatened 
his life, that he should tell no man what he had 
seen. He promised and went with them. And 
thus he heard their deliberations. And when 
no one more gave heed unto him, he quietly 



crept from thence, went up the steps by the 
house of the tailors into the street, and looked 
about if he might see a light. This he saw in 
the Guild room of the butchers, where the men 
were wont to sit up later than in other rooms. 
He went in, and saw many men drinking and 
playing. Here he sat him down behind the 
stove, and began to say : ' Oh ! stove, stove ! ' 
But no one gave heed unto him. Then cried 
he again : ' Oh ! stove, stove ! May I speak ? ' 
The men now became aware of his presence, 
mocked him and thought him mad, and asked 
him who he was and what he wanted. ' Oh ! 
nothing, nothing,' was his answer. Then began 
he a third time and said : ' Oh ! stove, stove ! I 
must make my complaint to thee, since I may 
speak to no man — to-night there are men 
gathered under the great vault at the corner, who 
are going to commit murder.' As soon as the 
men heard that, they ran out in great haste, gave 
the alarm, made prisoners of the conspirators, 
and forced them to swear fealty." 

Lucerne soon became impatient even of 
Austria's merely nominal claims upon her allegi- 
ance. In 1386 Duke Leopold advanced with a 
mighty army to chastise his rebellious vassals. 
The confederates rallied in defence of their ally, 
and on 9th July defeated and killed the Duke 
on the little plateau above Sempach. With 
the banners and spoils taken on that memorable 


Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

day the Lucerners were able to decorate their 
town for many a long year after. Entlibuch, 
Kriens, and Horw were brought under their 
rule, and within the next hundred years the 
canton had acquired its present dimensions. 

The old town to-day lies close against the 
swirling Reuss, and with its picturesque old 
houses, painted and gabled, probably does not 
greatly differ in aspect from its fifteenth or 
sixteenth century self. The first house of stone 
in Lucerne was built in 1398, and thereafter 
building a stone house was, says Mr Sowerby,^ 
often made a condition of admission to citizen- 
ship. " The houses being at first entirely of 
wood, the regulations to prevent fires were very 
strict. No wood, whether for building or burn- 
ing, was to remain more than one night in the 
street. Between vespers and early mass, no 
smith's work was allowed, no threshing or 
winnowing, no working with tow or melted 
tallow, and no juniper wood or small twigs might 
be burned. The fire brigade was composed 
of citizens, who in case of a fire had to remain 
until dismissed by the mayor [schultheiss] ; the 
women had to stand at the doors of their houses 
with lights ; the members of the Klein and Gross 
Rath, armed with axes, formed a guard. The 
gates were closed every night at curfew, and the 
streets patrolled by one member of the Klein 
^ " The Forest Cantons." 


Rath, two of the Gross Rath, three citizens, and 
a sergeant [weibel]. Not until 1764, at the 
instance of Valentin Meyer, the town council 
employed a paid watch and guard of 150 men, 
and the members of the council could sleep 

Against human foes the town was protected 
on the land side by the wall with nine towers, 
which still remains. The wall dates from 1385, 
but the Zeitthurm or Clock Tower is believed 
to be a hundred years older and to have been 
erected on the site of the little castle of Tannen- 
berg. Only thirty marks silver were paid in 
compensation for the demolition of this strong- 
hold. There was another " castle " where the 
Nollithurm now stands, and there the Abbot of 
Marbach, the superior of the prior of Lucerne, 
was received with befitting ceremony by his 
vassals. The Musegg hill, on which these towers 
stand, is the scene, every 25th of March, of the 
procession called the Romfahrt, instituted about 
1250. It took the place of an annual pilgrimage 
to Rome, to return thanks for the deliverance 
of the town from a fire. " The procession has 
only twice failed to take place on the appointed 
day. In 1653 it was deferred until July 25th 
on account of the peasant war, and in 1785, on 
account of the deep snow, it was put off till 
March 27th, and then only took place in the 
town. The priest who delivered the sermon 


I Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

in 1553 was Domitas Hurilaeus, Archbishop of 
Cashel, who was afterwards murdered." 
The Swiss are and always have been as fond 

' of hoHdays and pubhc ceremonies as the modern 
EngHsh. On the Wednesday and Thursday 

' after Easter a miracle play was enacted every 
five years in the Wine Market, where Lux's 
pretty fountain now stands. The stage was 
provided by the municipahty, which entertained 
all visitors at its own expense. This lavish 
hospitahty proved so costly that the play was 
given up early in the seventeenth century. 
There was, however, always plenty of money in 
Lucerne. The famous Ludwig Pfyffer, who took 
part in the French religious wars, was worth 
three quarters of a million of our money and 
was nicknamed the Swiss King. The gilds were 
very wealthy, and upon their extinction in 1870 
were able to distribute considerable sums among 
their members. These corporations often in- 
cluded several district trades. The Safran Gild 
was composed of crafts as diverse as sculptors 
and ropemakers, and was named after one of 
its members who had distinguished himself in 
the Burgundian wars. In his honour the gild 
organised a procession on the last Thursday of 
carnival known as the " Fritschi-auszug," which 
was at one time a march past of all the able- 
bodied men of the town. 

Life seems to have been jolly enough in the 



quaint old town, though from time to time the 
city fathers, as elsewhere in these days, exerted 
themselves to make everybody solemn and 
glum. The wealthy Pfyffers, many of whom 
had served in the French Guards, did much to 
make things lively ; so also did the few Italian 
families settled in the town. The council passed 
stupid laws against card-playing, regulating 
dress, and so forth, but no one dared to enforce 
these against the aristocratic families. The 
townsmen's daughters, however, were limited to 
two or three dances a year, and forced to carry 
on their flirtations as best they could in the 
shadow of the covered-in bridges. 

The oldest of these was the Hofbriicke, which 
existed in one form or another since 853, and 
was demolished in 1857. It was over thirteen 
hundred feet in length and extended from the 
southern end of the modern Seebriicke to a point 
now some distance inland from the lake. It 
was decorated, like the remaining bridges of the 
period, with paintings, in this case from sacred 
history, bearing the names of the donors or 
restorers. Upon it was a chapel built by the 
famous Swiss King. His arms were subse- 
quently removed from the structure, when his 
heirs had refused to bear the cost of restoration. 
This bridge was the favourite promenade of the 
Lucerners, and must have closely resembled 
the two existing wooden bridges which span the 


« e c c f c f 

c c c 

c t c c 

re c « 

c "^ e c c' 

c c e c c t c 

Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

river lower down. The Kapellbriicke forms a 
very obtuse angle, pointing towards the lake. 
It dates from 1355, and was decorated at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century with about 
two hundred pictures illustrative of Swiss history. 
Each member of the council undertook the cost 
of one painting, and was careful to establish his 
connection with it as far as possible. Thus, 
as Mr Sowerby explains, John H. Pfyffer 
chose for the subject of his picture the gym- 
nasium founded by his ancestor; L. von Wyl, 
the Mordnacht or massacre resulting from the 
conspiracy of 1343, because it was supposed to 
have taken place near his house. One of these 
compositions represents the execution of two 
Christian martyrs near Soleure by means of an 
instrument resembling the guillotine. Some of 
these paintings have been placed in the galleries 
of the old Wasserthurm, at the angle of the 
bridge, the lighthouse from which, according 
to some, the town derived its name, and which 
now houses the municipal archives. 

This bridge must have been, from the nature of 
its decoration, a more agreeable lounging place 
than the Spreuerbriicke, lower down, which was 
rebuilt in 1566. In whichever direction you 
traverse this bridge your eyes are met by one 
of the pieces composing the famous " Dance of 
Death," placed back to back in the angle formed 
by the pitched wooden roof. These ghastly 



pictures were painted, for the edification of the 
inhabitants, by Caspar MegHnger in 1626, at 
the expense of various pious townsmen, and 
were restored by one, Hunkeler, in 1727. One 
represents a wedding feast; Death, personified 
as a hideous skeleton in the costume of the 
artist's period, is waiting with his scythe to cut 
down the bride at the entrance to the nuptial 
chamber. In another, the same grinning spectre 
appears behind the cradle of a smiling infant. 
Farther on, you see a knight galloping away 
from a stricken field, unaware that Death is 
seated behind him on his saddle. Elsewhere 
the skeleton is seen driving a holiday party ; 
you see him arraying a lady for a ball, serving 
at table, appearing, in short, in almost every 
conceivable situation in everyday human life, 
conducting popes, emperors, kings, nobles, mer- 
chants, peasants, old men, young men, wives, 
and virgins, in one fantastic capering cotillon 
to the grave. 

The series is well known to students of 
mediaeval art. It reappears all over northern 
Europe and was painted at Bale by Holbein. 
" In the midst of life we are in death " was a 
theme on which the mediaeval mind never tired 
of gloating. The pagans saw the grandeur and 
sadness of death, the Christians only its horror 
and corruption. The Church, which never 

ceased to insist on the baseness of the body, 


Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

found an excellent ally in the skeleton with the 
scythe. It pleased the miserable monk, starving 
in his filthy rags, to reflect that the proud 
knight and the lovely lady would one day be 
the prey of worms. The vilest of the human 
species delighted in the certainty that the 
noblest would one day be a festering mass of 
corruption. Roman Catholic books of devotion 
are full of the sentiment ; it inspires, for that 
matter, half the hymns of all the Christian 
churches. Flesh is vile ; human nature is evil ; 
woman must be cleansed by canonical processes 
from the guilt of motherhood ; all humanity must 
end in the mouldering corpse. How different 
from the bright saying of the Mohammedans : 
" There is nothing the wise man thinks of less 
than death ! " 

The " bance of Death " here represented was 
at its conception performed by living actors. It 
formed one of the mystery plays of the devout 
mumbling Middle Ages, and in 1424 was " pro- 
duced " at Paris in an appropriate theatre — 
the cemetery of the Innocents. At the time of 
the English occupation, when Francois Villon 
saw the world as a vast thieves' kitchen, and 
wolves, four-legged as well as human , preyed 
on the citizens, a procession defiled through 
the streets headed by a skeleton seated on a 
jewelled throne. Something of this morbid 
humour has survived in the so-called gay city 



to this day, as visitors to the tourist-ridden 
haunts of Montmartre well know. It is still 
considered good fun in some Italian carnivals 
to masquerade as a corpse ; but humanity at 
last recoiled from mimicking the triumph of 
its implacable foe, and the edifying pageant 
was presented only by the painter and the 

I sat on that quaint old bridge at Lucerne 
and extracted some amusement from the gro- 
tesque pictures expressly designed to terrify 
worldlings. I doubt if the tourists trip it any 
the less lightly at the National for being re- 
minded that they are mortal and that flesh is 
vile. For that matter, cremation enables us to 
escape the indignities of the grave and to cheat 
that worm to whom priests so lovingly refer. 
Ruskin, meditating on this bridge, compares our 
modern life unfavourably with that of the old 
Lucerners, " with all its happy waves of light 
and mountain strength of will, and solemn 
expectation of eternity." Yet none that knows 
the history of Switzerland can say that those 
grave persons were better men than their 
descendants. The vanity of life, forsooth ! it 
was this soul-soddening lie that made our 
forefathers so brutally indifferent to the welfare 
of their kind, and absolutely reckless of the 
interests of posterity. The man with a sound 

race instinct is little concerned about the 


Lucerne, To-Day and Long Ago 

duration of his individual life, but he does not 
talk about its vanity. In the expectation of 
eternity he is not likely to forget the value of 
time. Then "let us take hands and help, for 
to-day we are alive together." 

K 145 


Fifty or sixty years ago, I have been told, 
visitors were introduced to the Lion of Lucerne 
by a veteran clad in the scarlet uniform — sadly 
patched and faded — of the famous Swiss Guards 
of the French King. This old man could hardly 
have been a survivor of the massacre which the 
monument commemorates ; he had probably 
belonged to the corps some time between its 
re-estabhshment by Louis XVI I L and its final 
disbandment after the Revolution of July. The 
pride which he no doubt took in the valour of 
his fellows on the memorable loth August 1792 
may perhaps be shared by the Swiss to-day, but 
if the monument had not been erected in the 
reactionary twenties of last century I very 
seriously question whether it would ever have 
been erected at all. For it is, after all, a 
memorial not only to the doglike fidelity of the 
brave mercenaries, but a disagreeable reminder 
of the days when the cantons hired out the 
flower of their manhood to fight and bleed in the 
causes, just or unjust, of foreign powers. Poor, 
mountainous countries seem to breed mer- 
cenaries. The Scots were as fond of the trade 
as the Switzers. Where a man has nothing else 




The Lion of Lucerne 

to sell, he sells his strength and courage, just as 
woman sells her beauty. The Swiss troops who 
figure in all European wars from the fifteenth to 
the nineteenth centuries were not mercenaries, 
one writer hotly affirms : they were recruited 
by the cantons under regular treaties with 
foreign states, they were organised and officered 
by the cantons, they fought under their local 
banners. To these conventions, we are told, 
the confederation owed its immunity from 
invasion. In reality, thousands of Swiss en- 
listed as individuals in other armies, attracted 
by the hope of pay and plunder ; but the 
status of those supplied by their own govern- 
ments in fixed contingents to foreign despots 
seems to me more pitiable and ignoble still. 
No doubt the " excellent lords " of " the praise- 
worthy cantons " did well over the traffic. 
Louis XIV. 's minister remarked that with the 
gold the French kings had paid the Swiss you 
could pave a road from Paris to Bale ; whereupon 
a Swiss officer retorted that with all the blood 
shed by his countrymen in the French service 
. you could fill a canal from Bale to Paris. One is 
reminded of the tribute of one hundred virgins 
which the Gothic king is fabled to have paid the 
caliph of Cordova. 

There is hardly a banner in Europe under 
which the Swiss have not fought for hire — except, 
perhaps, that of Uberty. In France, Austria, 



Spain and Italy, they have ever distinguished 
themselves as the tyrant's most faithful watch- 
dogs, staunch pillars of the throne. They 
possessed the special virtue of the mercenary — • 
they were true to the hand that fed them. They 
were ready indeed to kill each other, should 
duty command, though now and again blood 
proved stronger than allegiance, as when in 1500 
the Swiss basely betrayed their employer, the 
Duke of Milan, to their countrymen in the 
French service. But generally it was found 
that so long as you had the money, you had 
the Swiss. Sold into servitude by their feudal 
owners at home, they obeyed without demur 
any and every employer. 

France was always the most liberal customer 
of their Excellencies of the cantons. Between 
1477 and 1850 it is computed that no fewer 
than a million Swiss served in the armies of 
France. At one time they contributed fully 
half the infantry. It was, as we might have 
guessed, the shrewd Louis XL who first re- 
cognised the value of such auxiliaries to the 
French crown. Unflinchingly brave, without 
intelligence or scruple, they were the ideal 
Janissaries of a would-be absolute king. Charles 
VI 1 1, trusted them so well that he formed a 
special bodyguard called the Cent-Suisses, dis- 
tinguished by a blue uniform with red facings. 
At Paris these Guards were killed to the hun- 


The Lion of Lucerne 

dredth man, defending the person of Francis I. 
In after years their duties became mainly 
ceremonial and domestic. They were employed 
chiefly about the palace and at Court functions, 
much as the Pope's Swiss Guards are to-day. 

It was Louis XIII. who organised an effective 
fighting force of Swiss for the immediate pro- 
tection of the sovereign. Marshal de Bassom- 
pierre was the first colonel of this, the famous 
Swiss Guard. Originally composed of twelve 
companies which mounted guard according to 
the precedence of their respective officer's 
cantons, they were increased in 1763 to four 
battalions, each of four companies, officered by a 
colonel, a lieutenant, a major, four aides-major, 
four sous-aides-major, and eight ensigns. Their 
uniform was scarlet with blue facings. The 
officers wore high silver-braided collars. The 
Guard marched with the artillery and formed its 
escort. It had many privileges and received 
twice the pay of any native corps. It was not 
bound to serve against Germany beyond the 
Rhine, Italy beyond the Alps, or Spain beyond 
the Pyrenees ; but, in fact, it very often over- 
stepped these limits. 

" A corps of Swiss," said Marshal Schomberg, 
himself a soldier of fortune, "is in a French 
army what the bones are to the human body, 
not only on account of their valour, but especially 
because of their patience and their disciphne. 



They are discouraged by no reverse or delay." 
" They have never," says another writer, " been 
reproached with anything but their insistence 
upon being regularly paid. Point d'argent, 
point de Suisse, says the proverb. It could not 
be otherwise. In the Swiss regiments the theft 
of a hen was punished with death. With such 
a discipline, regularity of pay was absolutely 

At the beginning of the Revolution there 
were eleven regiments of Swiss in the French 
service besides the Cent-Suisses and the Guard. 
Some of these troops took part in the defence 
of the Bastille, and all were regarded with dislike 
and suspicion by the people. The Chateau vieux 
regiment, however, stationed at Nancy, was 
stirred by the rebellious spirit of the age, and 
went on strike for better pay, and the abolition 
of flogging. They were attacked by the ferocious 
Marquis de Bouille, with two other Swiss regi- 
ments, and subdued after a fierce struggle. 
Dog, it is said, will not eat dog ; but at the court- 
martial that followed, the mutineers were sen- 
tenced by their fellow-countrymen, one to be 
broken on the wheel, twenty-two to be hanged, 
and forty-one to the galleys. The sentences of 
death were at once executed. An appeal was 
made on behalf of the prisoners to their own 
government ; but that detestable little oligarchy 
approved the sentences and declared that if the 


The Lion of Lucerne 

men were pardoned they would not be per- 
mitted to re-enter their corps. Notwithstand- 
ing, the forty-one mutineers were set at hberty 
by order of the National Assembly and were 
welcomed with enthusiasm at the bar of the 

To express its disgust at such clemency and 
to preserve its subjects from the contagion of 
republican ideas, the republic of Berne recalled 
its contingent from the French service. The 
Assembly decreed the disbanding of the Cent- 
Suisses, but left the other corps standing, 
though the Guards were ordered to confine 
themselves to their barracks at Courbevoie 
and Rueil and to surrender their artillery. The 
aged colonel, M. d'Affry, kept in the background, 
and managed to keep on good terms with the 
new authorities. His officers, whose sympathies 
were, of course, entirely with their paymaster, 
the King, sent to Lucerne for instructions 
how to act. Before they were answered, they 
were summoned to defend the Tuileries against 
the Marseillais. Commanded by Lieutenant- 
Colonel de Maillardoz and Captain de Durler, 
they made their last heroic stand in defence of 
their employer's home on loth August 1792. 
It was the apotheosis of the mercenary soldier. 

The number of the defenders is stated by 
Durler to have been about eight hundred. A 
return made by order of the cantons accounts 


for only 519, of whom 160 were killed. All the 
cantons were represented except Schaffhausen 
and Appenzell. Soleure furnished the largest pro- 
portion of killed — 51 out of 105. From Fribourg 
came no fewer than 125 men, in addition to the 
lieutenant-colonel. He was murdered in the 
Conciergerie, together with nine other officers. 
The Baron de Bachmann, whom the revolu- 
tionaries put to death on the scaffold, was from 
canton Glarus. 

On 20th August the remaining Swiss troops 

were disbanded by the French Government. 

Many of the men took service with Sardinia and 

in England, where they formed part of a corps 

known as Roll's regiment. To this belonged 

the brave Durler, who died fighting under the 

British flag in Egypt. Upon the restoration of 

the Bourbons, Louis XVIII. showed that among 

other things he had not forgotten the value of 

foreign mercenaries to the King of France. He 

hastily reconstituted both the Cent-Suisses and 

the Garde Suisse, raising the number of the 

former, by the way, to 317. To the command 

of the Guard he appointed the Comte d'Affry, 

son of the old colonel, who had fought under 

Napoleon. WTien the Emperor returned from 

Elba he ordered the Swiss to parade before him. 

They remained in their barracks. Their colonel 

was summoned to the palace. Upon his arrival, 

two officers ordered him to give up his sword. 


The Lion of Lucerne 

He drew it, and invited any man who was bold 
enough to take it. No one dared and, armed, 
he entered the presence of Napoleon. " Why," 
asked the great man, " did you not obey my 
orders ? " " Because," replied the intrepid 
Swiss, " I can take orders only from the King 
and the cantons." " Do you know to whom 
you are speaking ? " thundered the Emperor. 
" Yes, to General Bonaparte." " You are speak- 
ing," said the conqueror deliberately, " to the 
Emperor of the French, and in that capacity 
I order you to parade your regiment upon 
the Place du Carrousel." " I regret," replied 
d'Affry, " that I can take orders only from the 
King to whom I took the oath of allegiance." 
" You swore allegiance to me also in 1810." 
" True, but you absolved me from it by your 
abdication." " Good," said Napoleon; " I will 
take steps to recall it to your memory." He 
dismissed the bold Switzer, but contented him- 
self with disbanding his regiment. 

Louis XVni. rewarded this fresh instance of 
fidelity by giving the Swiss the place of honour 
upon his re-entry into Paris. By a convention 
concluded with the cantons on ist June 1816 
the strength of the Guard was fixed at two 
regiments of 2298 officers and men each, and 
four more regiments were raised, each 1956 
strong, to be known as Swiss infantry of the line. 
The Guards wore the old scarlet and blue uniform, 



the infantry red coats with yellow buttons. The 
colonel of the Guards received a salary of 
15,000 francs a year — nearly thrice as much as 
his comrade of the French Guards. The privates 
were paid seventy centimes a day in the Guards, 
and fifty centimes in the line. 

During this last period of their service with 
the French colours, the hardy sons of Helvetia 
proved themselves, as ever, valiant defenders of 
tyranny. They shared the fatigues and the 
doubtful honours of the disgraceful expedition 
into Spain to crush the liberties of the people 
and to restore the hateful Ferdinand VII, to 
the unlimited exercise of arbitrary power. Some 
of the regiments remained on the south side of 
the Pyrenees till 1827 ; it would have been well 
for them if they had stayed there three years 
longer. On the outbreak of the Revolution of 
July, the sight of the hated scarlet uniform 
goaded the Parisians to madness. At every 
crisis in the history of France, these hirelings 
from the mountains were found ready to step 
between the monarch and his injured people. 
The Swiss, as usual, did their duty. They fired 
without hesitation on the mob, and were vigor- 
ously attacked in return. A corps was besieged 
in its barracks, which was set fire to by the 
insurgents. At the Tuileries, the people gained 
the upper floors, and fired from the windows on 
the Swiss in the court below. The mercenaries 


The Lion of Lucerne 

remembered the fate of their predecessors in 
1792, and hastily retreated. With Charles X. 
the Swiss Guard disappeared from France for 
ever, and the confederation lost the best market 
for its blood and sinew. 

Spain, which had drawn as many as six 
regiments at a time from the Catholic cantons, 
employed no more Swiss after the French in- 
vasion. Reding, who did such good service 
during the campaign, was a Swiss officer. The 
Protestant mercenaries preferred the service of 
the states-general of Holland, which in 1748 had 
as many as 20,400 Swiss in their pay. As late 
as 1829 there were four Swiss regiments in the 
Dutch army. The Emperor had his Hundred 
Swiss, like his cousin of France, but generally 
preferred to hire these mercenaries for the job 
— which was never too dirty for the Helvetic 
conscience. As late as the time of the Crimean 
war, the English Government recruited a force 
in Switzerland, which we had transported at 
great expense as far as Smyrna when hostilities 
came to an end. The men returned to their 
native valleys to tire their simple neighbours to 
the end of their lives with stories of the perils 
of the deep and the wonders of the Orient. 

Nowadays to most of us the words Swiss 
Guards recall the ornamental warriors of the 
Vatican. The popes were the first to take the 
troops of the cantons into their pay, and they 



have retained them the longest. The supreme 
pontiff's Swiss Guard is, I fancy, the oldest existing 
regiment. It was founded in 1471 by Sixtus IV., 
and composed of 7 officers and 146 non-commis- 
sioned officers and men. As most people know, 
and some will learn with surprise, the hideous 
uniform of these devout mercenaries was designed 
by no other than Raphael. Unfortunately it 
has been little affected by the vicissitudes of the 
corps itself. The Swiss Guards were disbanded 
in 1809, when Pius VII. was carried off to France, 
and reorganised in 18 14. On the establishment 
of the Roman republic in 1848 they were again 
dismissed, only to reappear on the restoration of 
the ninth Pius. They were spared upon the 
annexation of the city to the Italian kingdom, 
as an entirely ceremonial non-combatant force. 
Their countrymen in the papal and Neapolitan 
services have left a different reputation behind 
them. Foreseeing an uprising in his dominions, 
that stupid and tyrannical pope, Gregory XVI., 
in 1834 contracted with the Swiss Government 
for the supply of two regiments of foot and a 
troop of artillery, totalling 4401 men. These 
were stationed in the legations of Romagna, as 
the most disaffected districts. Curiously enough, 
they first saw active service in the defence, 
instead of to the injury, of the national cause. 
When Pius IX. pretended to join the Italian 
league against Austria, the Swiss troops under a 


The Lion of Lucerne 

Grison, General de Latour, fought well at Vicenza 
against the Imperialists, and were saluted by the 
people with the unaccustomed cry, " Viva i 
Svizzeri ! " On the proclamation of the repub- 
lic, notwithstanding, the two infantry regiments 
were dissolved. Some of the men returned home 
and a few re-enlisted in the native army. Most, 
however, passed into the service of the King of 
the Two Sicilies. 

That paternal sovereign and his predecessor 
had maintained four regiments of Swiss in- 
fantry, for the oppression of their subjects, since 
1827, under conventions with the cantonal 
governments of Lucerne, Uri, Unterwalden, 
Appenzell (Inner Rhoden), Fribourg, Soleure, 
Valais, Berne, and Grisons. These conventions, 
together with the conditions of service and the 
Swiss military code, may be read in extenso in a 
book published at Geneva by Henri Ganter, an 
ex-mercenary. The discipline was severe, even 
ferocious. Death, flogging, and running the 
gauntlet were the penalties for even minor 
offences. The last-mentioned method of punish- 
ment was often terrible enough, for it was a 
means of gratifying the intense animosity which 
divided the German and Latin members of the 
same corps. The pay of a private was only 
sixty-two and two-third centimes a day. Yet 
the cantons appear to have had no difficulty 
in recruiting volunteers for foreign service. 



Enlistment, says Ganter, was for four years, 
and was quite voluntary. Parents had even 
to restrain their sons from engaging. Once 
they had signed on, they swore fidelity to 
their employer, and were sent on to the 
chief recruiting station of the canton, whence 
they were despatched to the general depot at 
Genoa. Though no pressure or inducements were 
brought to bear upon the lads to enlist, our in- 
formant admits that desertions before and after 
arrival at Naples were pretty frequent, and that 
the men often tried to make themselves useless 
as soldiers and so procure even a dishonourable 

discharge. We are told of a certain D of the 

canton Geneva, who might by his intelligence 
have easily attained promotion but preferred 
to pass most of his service in the guardroom. 
He had received fifteen thousand strokes with the 
cane, and was so used to this punishment that he 
would let his comrades amuse themselves by 
flogging him in return for a few glasses of wine. 
The men seem to have been brutalised in this 
sordid service and to have delighted in cruelty 
to each other as well as to the people. The 
officers jealously insisted on their right to inflict 
the death penalty without the possibility of 
pardon by the King. On doom being pronounced 
the judge broke a black wand and threw it at 
the feet of the condemned man, telling him that 
he was as surely dead as the stick was broken. 


The Lion of Lucerne 

Loathed by the NeapoHtans as the very body- 
guard of tyranny, the Swiss regiments distin- 
guished themselves in 1848 and i860 by their 
courage and ferocity among the troops of Ferdi- 
nand 11. They are accused of firing on the 
people without provocation and warning, and 
of massacring women and children. The four 
colonels, Sigrist, Brunner, de Riedmatten, and de 
Muralt, published an indignant denial of these 
charges, but their part in the revolt had covered 
the Swiss name with odium, and aroused the 
liveliest indignation in Switzerland. The old 
order of things had passed away in 1847, and the 
confederation now refused to recognise the 
conventions signed by the cantons or to permit 
the Swiss arms to be borne on the standards of 
the Neapolitan regiments. The Conservative 
party in the cantons affected were, however, 
sufficiently strong to prevent the recall of the 
contingents, and even managed to keep up their 
strength to the number agreed upon with the 
other contracting party. But the men them- 
selves mutinied on seeing their national ensigns 
removed from their colours, and in 1859 the 
Neapolitan Government thought fit to disband 
the corps. A great number of the men, how- 
ever, immediately re-enlisted in the newly 
formed foreign legion, and fought obstinately 
against Garibaldi in Sicily and on the Voltumo. 
Meanwhile, a new brigade of Swiss in the employ 



of Pius IX. had rendered itself odious by its 
brutality towards the insurgent inhabitants of 
Perugia. The appearance of the Sardinian army 
presently drove the pontifical troops into the 
fortress of Ancona and the Neapolitan army 
into Gaeta. These strongholds of despotism 
fell successively in September i860 and Feb- 
ruary 1861. The Pope's mercenaries took refuge 
in the city and territory of Rome ; the Swiss in 
the garrison of Gaeta were sent back to their 
own country. They had been treated harshly 
by the Sardinians. Covered with vermin and 
clothed in rags, they were transported by rail 
from Genoa to Arona. At every station they 
were greeted with groans and hisses by the 
Italians, with cries of " Ecco i Borboni ! Porchi 
di Svizzera ! Mangia macheroni ! Levate 
questa porcheria ! " And so the last of the 
Swiss mercenaries, with the exception of those 
at Rome, returned to their country, which 
blushed to receive them. 

Thus closed a sorry chapter in the history not 
of the Swiss nation but of the old rotten aristo- 
cracy of Switzerland, who sold their peasantry 
into bondage to foreign kings. The German 
princes did the same. The old-fashioned ruler 
believed himself to be the owner of his people, 
and not unreasonably supposed he might sell 
them as a farmer does his live stock. Those 
ideas are dead in Switzerland, but they are not 


The Lion of Lucerne 

dead in England. There are plenty of self- 
styled intellectuals in London to-day who openly 
express their desire for an absolute monarchy. 
Most middle-aged English ladies of good family 
believe that the working class was only created 
to supply them with domestic servants. South 
Kensington would vote solid to-morrow for the 
introduction of slavery. The aristocratic party 
does not proclaim these doctrines on the plat- 
form or in the press, but it makes no secret of 
them in the club and the drawing-room. So I 
think it quite right and proper that wealthy 
English tourists should sigh before Thorwaldsen's 
Hon over the fate of the armed slaves of a 
corrupt monarchy. For the Swiss of to-morrow 
will not ! This monument should be set up in 
a London suburb or a fashionable watering-place, 
to be honoured by those who admire courage 
blended with servility. 

I, for one, respect these brave soldiers, worthy 
of a better cause. It is easy to be hard on these 
poor devils of mercenaries. They had no coun- 
try of their own — it belonged to the patricians 
of their cantons. They hoped to escape tyranny 
at home by embracing servitude abroad. They 
were simple souls, with much in common with 
the cattle of their upland pastures. The Swiss 
used to play in French humour the part assigned 
to the Irishman in ours. A Swiss captain was 
ordered to bury the dead after an engagement, 

L l6l 


so one story goes. He set to work with right 
good will, and it was presently pointed out to 
him that he was burying the living as well as the 
dead. "As to that," he replied impatiently, 
" if you listened to these bodies, they would have 
you believe there isn't a dead man among them." 
Voltaire is responsible for the yarn about the 
German officer who begged for his life from a 
Swiss soldier. " Alas ! sir," answered the oblig- 
ing mercenary, " I will willingly grant you any 
other favour, but your life — no ! " I like, too, 
that story of the Swiss Guard who had orders to 
let no one enter the Tuileries from the street. 
" You can't enter," he said to a citizen who pre- 
sented himself at the gate. " I don't want to 
enter," explained the adroit townsman, " I wish 
to leave this street." " Ah, that's another 
matter," returned the sentinel, who drew back 
to let him pass. 

Men to whom such niaiseries could be 
attributed were not very capable of weighing 
the rights and wrongs of any quarrel. Certainly 
none of them would have fought for the op- 
pressors of his own land, as the Irish and Indians 
have not hesitated to do. I don't suppose any 
one of them would have stooped to shake hands 
with a divorce court lawyer. And, on the whole, 
I think these Swiss mercenary soldiers are as 
deserving of a monument as any of those 
who fight to extend the dominion of their own 


The Lion of Lucerne 

country without troubling to ask themselves 
whether their country's influence is for the good 
of mankind or whether it means the propaga- 
tion of vicious laws and customs, the heritage 
of mediaeval times. Loyalty to one's flag some- 
times means treason-felony to mankind. 



Despite its kursaal and its horse races, its 
dances at the National and its danses macabres, 
no one Hngers very long in Lucerne. The call 
of the mountains is too urgent and the lights of 
the big hotels on their summits too friendly to 
be resisted. Everyone you meet at Lucerne has 
come down from a mountain or is about to go up 
one. Not that this is a centre for real climbers, 
for the true Alpinists. There are no peaks round 
here which the professional mountaineer would 
think it worth his while to bark his shins upon. 
For him you must look rather at Grindelwald 
and Zermatt. 

Time was when the ascent of the Rigi was 
regarded as a remarkable feat of endurance and 
hardihood, and the man who had seen the 
sunrise from the humble inn on the summit 
would talk about the experience all the rest of 
his life. That inn was built by a man called 
Blirgi in 1816, and it had for a long time to be 
kept going by the subscriptions of potentates like 
the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and the Crown 
Prince of Prussia. After a while it became 
almost as popular as a tourist resort as it had 
been as a resort for pilgrims. For as far back 


'^Jrli\ ' 









Little Journeys from Lucerne 

as i6go at the spot we call the Klosterli there 
existed a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the 
Snows, to which a pilgrimage was made on the 
6th of September every year. At one time as 
many as nineteen thousand persons gained the 
indulgence attached to this religious exercise in 
one year. The chapel still supplies the spiritual 
needs of the population of the mountain. 

The railway up from Vitznau is the oldest of 
mountain railways, and was inaugurated with 
a great flourish of trumpets in 1871. In my 
childhood, which was several years later, I can 
remember its being spoken of still as an eighth 
wonder of the world. He must be a weakling 
that would use it. The path would present 
no difficulties to a centenarian on crutches — at 
least as far as the Rigi Staff el. The way lies 
mostly through woods, where your footstep 
startles hordes of squirrels. These little fellows, 
with their fat cousins, the marmots, are among 
the greatest joys of travel on foot in Switzerland. 
The good wholesome wild things have not, 
happily, been banished, as from lifeless Italy. 
Birds fly overhead and in and out the bushes. 
The Swiss do not look on everything that lives 
as food, and though I suppose bird-butchery is 
looked on here, as in less civilised countries, as 
" sport," the Switzer generally prefers to aim 
at a target, in preparation not for the kitchen 

but the battlefield. Between the woods you 



traverse vivid emerald pastures where the cows 
move slowly to the eternal jingle of their leader's 
bell. I ran down the Rigi once in a little less 
than an hour, and acquired such momentum 
that I could not avert a violent collision with one 
of these interesting creatures who chanced to 
cross my path broadside on. Luckily she was 
fat, and neither of us was much the worse for 
the encounter. This, I recollect, occurred some 
distance below that wonderfully grand gate of 
rock called, I think, the Hochstein, which 
stands out like a miniature Thermopylae above 
Weggis. All the way, up or down, you catch 
glimpses between the trees and rocks of sublime 
vistas of lake and mountain, till you emerge on 
the bare summit up in the clear sky. It is not 
always clear, as everybody knows, and I can 
hardly think of the mountain without reaching 
for my umbrella ; you may spend a week up 
here and see nothing but the clouds ; or you may 
be rewarded with that view which even the 
Alpinists of to-day speak of with respect. 

Pilatus, on the other side of the lake, is every 
way much more of a mountain than the Rigi. 
The highest of its seven peaks — the Tomlishorn — 
is a thousand feet taller than the summit of the 
mountain opposite. The Rigi is broad-backed 
and rounded at the top, the Pilatus shaggy and 
peaked and serrated as a true mountain should 
be. On the whole, too, the view from the summit 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

is better ; but as you can go up both by railway, 
and most people do so, there is no object perhaps 
in vaunting one at the expense of the other. 

The legend which explains the name of our 
mountain is unusual and thrilling. It forms 
an unauthorised sequel to the New Testament. 
Pontius Pilate, it seems, was so unfortunate as 
to incur the disfavour of the Emperor, and, to 
escape a worse fate, killed himself in prison. 
His body was thrown into the Tiber. The river 
rose and threatened to burst its banks. The 
authorities, strangely enough connecting this 
phenomenon with the disposal of the governor's 
corpse, recovered it and sent it all the way to 
Vienne in Gaul, to be thrown into the Rhone. 
However, this stream proved no more tolerant 
than the other of its odious burden, and the Lake 
of Geneva was next chosen as the place of burial. 
The same floods and disturbances resulted, and 
for the third time the body was brought to the 
surface. It did not occur to the people of those 
days to try some other means of disposing of it, 
so they sought out a lonely little pool on the 
summit of the mountain we know as Pilatus 
and cast it in. According to another version, 
the ex-governor of Judaea had selected this spot 
while living as a place of retreat, and was there 
found by the Wandering Jew and pitched into 
the pool. But all authorities are agreed that 
whether Pilate reached the mountain dead or 



alive, he began upon his arrival to make things 
most unpleasant for the inhabitants of the coun- 
try round about. Storms raged, rain destroyed 
the crops, rivers burst their banks, the Lake 
of Lucerne inundated the surrounding district, 
avalanches swept away villages, and all the while 
the most hideous din resounded among the peaks 
of the mountains. At last a Spanish scholar 
volunteered to beard the pagan in his lair and 
bring him to a more Christian frame of mind. 
His path up the mountain was beset with 
difficulties which might have daunted the 
hardiest members of the Alpine Club. Torrents 
as wide as rivers, chasms as deep as the bottom- 
less pit, forbade his passage. The scholar made 
the sign of the cross, and instantly these obstacles 
were bridged by magnificent viaducts, which dis- 
appeared as soon as he had passed. Assured in 
this manner of the Divine protection, he pressed 
on to the verge of the pool. A terrific vision rose 
up before him — Pilate grown since his death to 
the height of the tallest tower in Lucerne, dressed 
like a Roman warrior, and brandishing the 
trunk of a pine-tree. Undismayed, the Christian 
champion gave battle. The combat lasted a 
whole day and night. The mountain rocked on 
its foundations. Trees and rocks were hurled 
down into the lake. The burghers of Lucerne 
trembled and made bets as to the issue of the 
encounter. At the end of thirty-six hours a 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

tremendous thud, followed by a sound of iieavy 

breathing, seemed to announce the final victory 

of one or other of the combatants. The Spaniard 

had floored Pilate. As it was not easy to slay a 

man who was already dead, the victor admitted 

the vanquished to terms. The troublesome 

Roman swore on a fragment of the true cross, 

which the scholar had thoughtfully brought with 

him, to remain quiet in his pool on all days of the 

week, except Friday, when he was to be allowed 

to roam over the mountains. The scholar then 

descended to the city and notified the terms of 

the capitulation to the magistrates. A decree 

was issued forbidding anyone to climb the peak 

on Friday. From time to time hardy infidels 

did so, with dire results. Near the pool they met 

the awful form of Pilate clad in the red robes of a 

judge. Only one or two escaped alive to tell the 

tale, and these were blinded or maimed for life. 

In the year 15 18 four sages got leave from the 

avoyer to test the truth of the legend. They 

went up into the mountain on the forbidden day, 

and returned very much scared, to confirm the 

tradition. Thirty-seven years later, however, 

Conrad Gessner, the greatest naturalist of his 

day, made the ascent on a Friday, and was able 

to announce that the pagan had disappeared. 

The prohibition was then removed. Till the 

end of the sixteenth century, however, the vicar 

of Lucerne once a year with much solemnity 



threw stones into the pool and exorcised the 
accursed spirit. These measures seem to have 
been at last effectual, for the unhappy pro- 
consul has never reappeared and his watery 
habitation has nearly dried up. The snorting 
and groaning of the mountain train has been at 
times mistaken by the superstitious for the 
expressions of his wrath at the invasion of his 

Nowadays almost every mountain within 
sight of Lucerne has its Grand Hotel and its 
funicular railway. At night the lights of these 
reputed eyesores sparkle like new constella- 
tions in the heavens — here blazes a coronet of 
fire, there a ruddy serpent marks the track of 
the mountain train. The effect is startling but 
rather beautiful. It is an affectation to esteem 
as ugliness all the lamps men light in the higher 
air. I can see much beauty in the beacons of 
all colours that welcome the traveller to New 
York by night, and there is surely something 
sublime in the miles-long glare of the light- 
house. The outcry against the disfigurement 
of nature in Switzerland does not appear to 
me to be altogether justified. The railways are 
less objectionable than the hotels, and bring the 
glories of the mountain within reach of the aged 
and the feeble. Nor is a railway track anywhere 
necessarily an unsightly feature in a landscape 
— not more so at any rate than a highroad. 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

The more recent hotels, moreover, are not 
inartistically built, and the builders have now 
generally sense enough not to place them on the 
skyline. Some years ago I met a Switzer who 
told me that he belonged to the society for the 
preservation of the natural beauty of his country. 
On the mountain hotels he was especially severe. 
" I own a hotel at Interlaken," he explained. 
" I find nowadays that tourists spend only a 
night in the towns and hurry up next day to 
stay on the top of some mountain. Formerly 
they would have stayed with me, and just made 
excursions to the mountains between breakfast 
and dinner. These high-level hotels and railways 
are spoiling the appearance of the country." 
Doubtless the majority of the society are in- 
spired by very different motives from this par- 
ticular member, though Edouard Rod addresses 
himself to the commercial aspect of the question 
b}^ reminding the Swiss that by destroying the 
picturesqueness of the mountains they will 
drive away the foreigners it is their object to 

Yet the hotels continue to rise on the highest 
summits, and appear to pay well. Within sight 
of Lucerne is the Biirgenstock, farther off the 
Stanserhorn, with a view much better than the 
Rigi's. The two of them during the greater part 
of the winter shut out the sunlight from Stans, 
the little capital of Nidwalden, which lies between 



them. In the summer the place makes a good 
objective for an afternoon's trip from Lucerne. 
The steamer takes you to Stansstad, the tiny 
port of the canton, and you land close to a watch- 
tower five hundred years old. When most of 
the men of Unterwalden had gone across the 
lake to help their fellow-confederates at Mor- 
garten, the town of Lucerne sent an expedition 
to attack the canton here and at Buochs. At 
the last-named place, the women, in the absence 
of the men, beat off the invaders, and ever after 
enjoyed the privilege of approaching the Com- 
munion rail before the other sex. At Stansstad 
a naval engagement took place. The market 
boat of Uri came to the assistance of the Unter- 
waldeners, and a millstone launched from the 
platform of the watch-tower crushed the Lucerne 
flagship and sunk her. An attack made from 
the side of the Brunig was likewise repulsed. 

It is a short walk from Stansstad to Stans. 
The country is well cultivated and the town 
itself stands in a very forest of fruit-trees. The 
first object that greets your eyes is the statue 
of Arnold von Winkelried " of battle martyrs 
chief," gathering the spears into his bosom. 
Here is a much finer hero than Tell, and one 
happily less problematical. His devotion is 
said to have decided the fortune of battle at 
Sempach in favour of the Swiss. " To this 
victory," says an anonymous chronicler, " a 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

trusty man among the confederates helped us. 
When he saw that things were going so ill and 
that the [Austrian] lords always thrust down 
with their lances and spears the foremost before 
they could be touched by the halberds, then 
did that honest man and true rush forward and 
seize as many spears as he could and press them 
down so that the confederates smote off all the 
spears with their halberds, and so reached the 

This seems a more difficult and improbable 
performance than Tell's, and, however much 
Winkelried may have contributed to the victory, 
we may be certain it was not exactly in this way. 
Historians, of course, have denied that any such 
person existed, but it has been conclusively 
proved that a man named Eric Winkelried was 
living at Stans nineteen years before the battle 
of Sempach, and the same name occurs in a deed 
three years later, with the particle von, which may 
have been assumed in consequence of the bearer's 
knightly achievement. That contemporary his- 
torians are silent as to his act of valour does 
not strike me as conclusive evidence against it. 
We might as well test the accuracy of modern 
history by the reports of journalists. And if it 
is true that another Winkelried performed the 
same feat in 1522 at La Bicocca — well, quite 
probably he did it in emulation of his namesake 
and ancestor. 



With this conclusion every native of Stans 
would agree ; and he will show you his house 
close at hand — a farmstead, with a low, arched 
doorway, which may in part be as old as the 
legend. In the Rathhaus you may see the hero's 
coat-of-mail, c|J)out which there may be reason- 
able doubt. You may also see the portraits of 
all the landammans of Nidwalden since the 
year 1521. Nidwalden is the eastern division 
of Unterwalden, the western portion being 
known as Obwalden. Everyone does not seem 
to be aware of this division, as only lately an 
unfortunate tourist who had procured a gun 
licence for one of the half-cantons was surprised 
to find himself arrested when he attempted to 
blaze away in the other. Appenzell and Basle 
are also divided into two. Unterwalden was 
one of the three primitive cantons, and was the 
scene of the misdeeds of the wicked Landenberg. 
It is still one of the most primitive parts of 
Switzerland, and, as might be expected, the most 
strict in its observance of Sunday. Scotch and 
New England city fathers might learn a few 
tips in the matter of Sabbatarian legislation 
from papistical Unterwalden. The clergy who 
enjoy such influence in the canton have certainly 
not used it to feather their own nests, for they 
are the worst paid in all Switzerland. Possibly 
they take their revenge on their parishioners by 
making them so uncomfortable on Sunday. 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

The landsgemeinde of Nidwalden is the most 
primitive of all the cantonal assemblies of 
Switzeriand. It is held at Wyl, about twenty 
minutes' walk to the eastward of Stans, in a 
square walled-in enclosure. Overhead tall lime- 
trees interlace their branches and protect the 
sovereign people from the sun's rays. In the 
middle is a stone terrace for the landamman, 
round it are ranged wooden benches. The 
' women and girls, wearing for once in a way the 
national costume, sit on the wall, and admire 
their natural lords making laws for their guid- 
ance. Never from that wall has come that cry 
which blanches the faces of our stoutest states- 
men — " Votes for Women ! " 

The proceedings are opened by the bedels in 
historic costume, one of whom blows a stentorian 
blast on his horn, while the other follows the 
landamman to his dais, bearing the sword of 
state. The people stroll in and take their seats 
in numbers varying with the weather and the 
interest of the agenda. They come in and out, 
and appear little sensible of their responsibility. 
When a sufficient number are assembled, the 
landamman, using a time-honoured formula, 
asks the people if they are ready to meet in 
landsgemeinde. After a moment's silence the 
bedel (I do not know his precise title) replies in 
the name of the people, " Honoured landamman, 
we wish to meet in landsgemeinde according to 




ancient custom." " Then," says the landam- 
man, " let us begin by asking the blessing of 
Almighty God." The bedel takes his cigar out 
of his mouth, and inclines his head reverently, 
and everyone uncovers. Then the business 
begins. It is not often very momentous and 
is discussed with high good-humour. A bridge 
wants repairing here, there is trouble between 
two communes there over a piece of arable land. 
In Nidwalden the council or nachgemeinde has 
alone the right to promulgate new laws, which 
must however be approved by this assembly. 
Every native male above the age of eighteen has 
the right to vote. There is no scrutiny. Every- 
one knows his neighbour, and the voting is by a 
show of hands. Strangers may seat themselves 
among the electors, if they like, so long as they 
do not abuse this hospitality by attempting to 
vote. When an official is elected he is generally 
found to have his speech of thanks written out 
and ready in his pocket, and he has no hesitation 
in reading it aloud. When these simple pro- 
ceedings are terminated, everyone flocks to the 
inns and bierhallen of Stans or Stansstad. The 
rest of the day is a holiday. Friends from 
different parts of the canton meet and ex- 
change news. There are wrestling matches, 
games, and the inevitable rifle matches. 

In the year 148 1 Stans was the scene of a less 

harmonious assembly. The confederates held a 


) a*. » • 3 J 
I • • • • > 

* > 1 > 

, > 3 ■) - > 







Little Journeys from Lucerne 

Diet there to discuss such weighty matters as 
the admission of Fribourg and Soleure to their 
ranks and to adjust the ever-recurring disputes 
between the towns and the country. From 
high words the delegates very nearly came to 
blows ^ and even threatened to separate without 
coming to any agreement. This would have 
meant the break-up of Switzerland. At this 
juncture the parish priest of Stans hastily sent 
word to Sachseln to the good hermit, Nicholas von 
der Fliie, to implore his intervention and advice. 
The representatives of the cantons were per- 
suaded by this devout personage to resume their 
sittings and to deal with one another in a more 
conciliatory spirit. After protracted delibera- 
tion, they drew up the Convention of Stans, 
which recognised Fribourg and Soleure as mem- 
bers of the league, but dealt a deadly blow at 
liberty by forbidding all popular meetings and 
binding the confederated governments to support 
each other, whether right or wrong, against all 
rebellion on the part of their subjects. 

For the provisions of the Covenant of Stans it 
would not be fair to blame the saintly mediator. 
Nicholas von der Fliie, or Bruder Klaus, as he 
is affectionately termed, is, I think, the only 
Switzer whose name appears in the Catholic 
calendar. This is at first sight startling, when 
we consider the attachment of the forest cantons 
to their ancient faith and to those negative 

M 177 


virtues for which Rome reserves her richest 
rewards. Ireland, " the island of saints/' has 
likewise been granted very little official recog- 
nition of her saintliness. The explanation is 
simple. Ireland and Catholic Switzerland are 
poor and the honours of sainthood more costly 
than those of the peerage. The descendants of 
St Charles Borromeo ruined themselves in their 
efforts to procure him his well-earned nimbus, 
and the expenses of the canonisation of the 
Blessed Peter Fourier amounted recently to 
£9000. Unterwalden's local saint has still 
to be content with the rays of the merely 
" blessed " in lieu of the neat aureole of the 
fully fledged saint. Yet he was born of poor 
but honest parents as far back as 141 7, at 
a farm near Sarnen, called from its position 
near a precipice, Fliihli or der Fliie. Nicholas 
was at no time in doubt as to the calling he 
should pursue. As he afterwards assured his 
friend, the parson of Stans, some time before he 
was horn he was conscious of a star shining in the 
heavens, which he understood to be symbolical 
of his own future glory. His youth was passed 
in tending his father's cattle, an occupation 
which allowed him abundant leisure for medita- 
tion and prayer. His priestly biographers lay 
much stress as usual on his superiority to tempta- 
tions, which I imagine cannot have been very 
numerous or powerful in a lonely pasture on the 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

Alps of Unterwalden at the beginning of the 
fifteenth century. However, he saw something 
more of the world when he was called away to 
serve his country, sword in hand. He fought 
well at Zurich in 1443 and at Ragatz in 1446, 
and distinguished himself by preventing the 
massacre of a number of Austrian prisoners at 
Dissenhofen in Thurgau. On his return home, 
he married a pious damsel named Dorothea 
Wisling, not out of love for her, of course, but 
in obedience to the will of his parents. They 
had five sons and five daughters, who all imitated 
the virtues of their parents. The cares of a 
large family and even the more doubtful re- 
sponsibilities of a magistrate did not distract 
Nicholas from his interest in his post-mortem 
existence. He saw visions and declared that he 
was incessantly pursued and tormented by the 
Evil One. He was found lying bruised and 
bleeding at the foot of the cliffs. In 1467 he 
forsook his home and wife (although, as his 
contemporaries hasten to inform us, she was still 
a most attractive woman) and set off to join some 
hermits in Alsace. On the way, an inner voice 
told him to seek a refuge in his own country. He 
retraced his steps and, unknown to anyone, lived 
for a long time under a pine-tree. He then made 
himself a hut of brushwood at the Ranft, a little 
way beyond Sachseln, where the cantonal 

authorities presently built him a cell. This is 



now a place of pilgrimage, and it was thence that 
the anchorite went or sent word to the assembly 
at Stans. Here he lived in great contentment 
and greatly venerated by the whole countryside 
for nineteen years, the tedium of his existence 
varied by annual pilgrimages to Einsiedeln, 
Engelberg, and Lucerne, and by spirited set-to 
fights with the devil. He was supposed to take 
no food except the consecrated host. Ques- 
tioned on this point by an ecclesiastic, he re- 
plied : "I never said so and I do not say so 
now." Like most saints he seems to have been 
somewhat of a clairvoyant, but he never gave 
anyone advice as to their conduct which strikes 
us as particularly wise or illuminating. Epilepsy 
is the most probable explanation of his alleged 
combats with an invisible foe and of his ecstatic 
poses. This theory is not of course likely to be 
adopted by the devout, least of all by the pious 
people of the canton, who flock every year to his 
shrine at Sachseln. There his bones are pre- 
served in a glass case above the high altar. A 
jewelled cross has been placed inside his ribs, 
and from them are hung several ribbons of orders 
won by Uuterwaldeners in foreign service. The 
wooden figure in the transept is clad in his real 
robes. Round the walls are tablets and pictures 
recording the miracles performed at his inter- 

The horrible bone-house or charnel-house is an 

I So 

Little Journeys from Lucerne 

institution in many Swiss towns. That of 
Stans was dedicated, I read, in 1482, and now 
contains a neat pyramid of human skulls, each 
labelled with the former owner's name. A 
good many of these ghastly fragments of 
humanity belonged, I imagine, to the victims of 
the massacre of 1798, who are commemorated 
by a tablet in the outer wall. France had trans- 
formed the old league of cantons into the 
Helvetic confederation, and imposed on the 
Swiss a constitution which swept away all 
inequalities between nobles and peasants and 
states and subject territories. These reforms 
were spoilt by the harsh and overbearing manner 
in which they were carried out ; and to the old 
Catholic cantons they were inherently repug- 
nant. Schwyz and Uri, after a gallant resistance, 
accepted the new order of things ; so did 
Obwalden, though under protest. But in Nid- 
walden the people were incited by the clergy 
to resist the new constitution to the death and 
to put from them the blood-stained liberties of 
renascent France. 

The whole population flew to arms. In Sep- 
tember, the French, commanded by General 
Schauenbourg, attacked the half-canton from 
the lake and the Brunig. Their boats were 
beaten off at Kehrsiten, at the foot of the 
Burgenstock, but after repeated failures a land- 
ing was effected at Hiittenort. Thence the 



invaders intrepidly fought their way over the 
mountain. In the meantime their comrades, 
after desperate fighting, had forced the passage 
of the Drachenried, and the two divisions, about 
10,000 strong, met in the meadows round Stans. 
The people, about 2000 in number, rushed on 
them with what arms they could seize. Women 
and children fought as well as the men, and 
the French could not have spared them if they 
would. A priest was slain at the altar; the 
blind octogenarian artist, Von Wyrich, was killed. 
The French lost 2000 men ; the Unterwaldeners, 
312 men and 102 women. Every house in the 
open country was burnt down, and Stans itself 
escaped very narrowly. 

The French, their fury exhausted, were the 
first to succour their brave but misguided 
opponents. Schauenbourg distributed food 
among the survivors of the struggle, and es- 
tablished a school for the orphan children of 
those who had fallen. This was a noteworthy 
event in educational history, for the teachers 
selected were no other than Philip Stalder of 
Escholzmatt and Heinrich Pestalozzi of Berne. 
But as the Nidwaldeners had refused civilised 
government so they thwarted all attempts to 
educate their children. As I have said, the 
people of Stans sit in almost total darkness a 
great part of the year. 

But the lake is the greatest deUght of Lucerne, 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

the source of its popularity to-day as it has been 
of its prosperity in the past. The lake of the 
four valleys — for so Mr Coolidge says we must 
translate the name Vierwaldstattersee — is the 
Mediterranean of Switzerland : on its shores the 
republic was born, from them it has grown in 
all directions. Every spot at which we touch 
recalls some episode in the making of the nation. 
There may be, for all I know, other inland 
waters which surpass these in beauty, but none 
can unite to the same degree natural gran- 
deur with historical significance and romantic 

It is strange to reflect as we pass so lightly over 
this lake between these sheer walls of rock that 
an abyss of water lies beneath us nearly four 
times deeper than the North Sea. Of course 
this depth is trifling compared with that of Lago 
Maggiore, which smiles up at the sky 646 feet 
above the level of the sea and reaches down 552 
feet below it. Yet even the Lake of Lucerne can 
be stirred by the fohn or south wind into fury 
as terrible as that of any ocean. Near Brunnen 
the spray is sent fifty or sixty feet high into the 
air, and it is easy to understand the terror of 
the conscience-stricken Gessler. The lake should 
prove a good training-ground for the open seas, 
and, in fact, the boatmen have enjoyed a repu- 
tation for seamanship from the earliest times. 
Some of them were employed by the Doge of 



Venice at the beginning of the fourteenth 
century in an expedition to Syria. Steamers 
were first launched on the lake in 1836, and since 
then have multiplied rapidly. Motor-driven 
craft are now almost as numerous, and motor 
boat-races are among the recognised events of 
a Lucerne season. A once-famous boat, the 
Trefle-a-Quatre, came to grief in 1905 on the 
pointed rock named the Schillerstein opposite 

There is one pretty village nestling among 
orchards between the foot of the Rigi and the 
water's edge which has a history curious enough 
to be related here. This is Gersau^ which for 
five hundred years constituted a distinct sove- 
reign state — the smallest perhaps ever known 
in Europe. Its territory never exceeded three 
miles by two, its population at the present day 
falls short of two thousand. The origin of this 
tiny republic is unromantic. Held for centuries 
by the abbey of Muri, then by the Hapsburgs, 
it was mortgaged in 1333 to two of the richest 
inhabitants, Rudolf von Freienbach and Jost 
von Mos. The villagers then set to work to 
hoard up their pennies, and in 1390 acquired 
the land from the mortgagees for 690 pfen- 
nigs. Gersau had already joined the league 
of the forest cantons, and one of her men 
captured the banner of the Count of Hohen- 
zollern at Sempach. Her neighbour Weggis had 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

in like manner bought her freedom, but was 
bought up again by Lucerne. That domineering 
town tried how to obtain possession of Gersau, 
but on an appeal to the arbitration of Berne her 
claims were dismissed, and the liberties of the 
little republic were affirmed by the Emperor 
Sigmund in 1433. 

There seems often to have been bad blood 
between the village and the city, and the other 
cantons had frequently to intervene to preserve 
the peace. In the course of these disputes the 
Lucerners hung a man of straw on the gallows 
at Gersau, in derision of the inhabitants' pre- 
tensions to power over life and limb ; and the 
Gersau men promptly clothed it in the blue and 
white colours of Lucerne, to the intense indigna- 
tion of the townsmen. By order of the con- 
federates the colours were removed by one party 
and the figure itself by the other. It is a pity 
that the little community did not realise that the 
existence of a gallows is in itself a disgrace to any 
state large or small, and that the best fruits it can 
bear are the people who advocate its retention. 

Gersau, like all the surrounding districts, held 
fast by the old faith, and even sent its quota of 
men to fight the Protestants at Kappel. In the 
war of Vilmergen it furnished a contingent of 
seventy-five men to the Catholic army, and in 
1712 as many as ninety-two Gersauers fought for 
their faith under the banner of the local saint, 



Marcellus. In 1798 that banner was surrendered 
to the French troops and the ancient repubhc 
was absorbed in the new Helvetic state. 

In 18 14 Gersau, with all the other lumber of 
the Middle Ages, floated to the surface once 
more, and absurdly enough sent a contingent 
of twenty-four men to join the allied armies on 
the return of Napoleon from Elba. But the 
powers, so far from being grateful for this assist- 
ance, coolly handed over the little state to her 
former friend and protector, the canton Schwyz ; 
with which, in spite of piteous appeals and pas- 
sionate protests, it was finally incorporated in 
April 1818. 

Beyond Gersau, steering south, the scenery of 
the lake changes. It becomes sublime rather 
than beautiful. Chalets and gardens no longer 
welcome you to shore. The mountains close in, 
and rise on either side sheer upward from the 
profound waters. At Brunnen we catch a 
glimpse of a level valley reaching up to Schwyz 
and the mountains behind. Immediately after 
the cliffs wall us in. At their base, appearing 
and disappearing between tunnels scooped in the 
living rock, the train screams and whistles on 
the road to Italy. For human habitations you 
must look far up on the heights, where dark 
specks indicate men, white patches, houses. On 
the western side, green pastures reach the verge 
of the precipice, and cattle wander near the 


Little Journeys from Lucerne 

perilous edge. We are in the bay of Uri. 
Ahead the enormous cap of the Uri Rothstock 
is reddening in the sun. We are in the very 
heart of Switzerland. Yonder lies the Riitli, 
where the patriarchs of the republic met in 
solemn league and covenant. What matters it 
whether such men lived or died ? The nation 
has consecrated this spot to an ideal, which it 
will not forget. Opposite a chapel marks the 
spot where Tell sprang ashore pushing back the 
boat of the Austrian oppressor into the boiling 
lake. It is painted with frescoes illustrating the 
patriot's career. At Kiissnach, on that neglected 
arm of the lake which reaches towards Zug, is 
another chapel to his memory on the spot where 
his vengeance was consummated and Gessler fell. 
The wind from the mountain blows keen about 
our ears and makes Switzers of us all. 



One gloomy, thunderous afternoon I landed at 
Fluelen, and walked to Altdorf, where, as I have 
so often been told, neither Tell nor anybody shot 
any apple. However, a picturesque fable will 
draw most of us farther than a bald truth. The 
little capital of Uri is worth visiting for its own 
sake. It is a charming little town built like our 
English villages on each side of the highroad— 
the highroad that leads over the St Gotthard 
into Italy and to the end of Europe. I glanced 
upwards at the dark wood on the east which over- 
hangs the town and protects it from falling 
rocks, and in which the woodman's axe may 
never be wielded, just as Schiller tells us. I 
had read William Tell while crossing the lake 
and was rather glad to finish it. The comic 
relief to these heroics was forthcoming in the 
village idiot of Altdorf, who courted my atten- 
tion and was as conscious as the rest of his 
countrymen of the commercial value of physical 
pecuHarities. Indeed I fancy he affected to be 
more of an idiot than he really was for my benefit, 
and made a show of swallowing a cigarette which 
I had given him. I was not a httle ashamed of 
amusing myself with this poor devil, and was 
glad when he was sternly called off by a pohce- 


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In the Land of Tell 

man or a landamman or a burgomaster or 
some such official person wearing a peaked cap 
and a light tweed suit. 

I had now leisure to examine Kissler's statue 
of the local hero, a vigorous composition not 
unworthy of its subject. It is overlooked by a 
tower which was certainly there in 1307, and is 
stated to have been the office of the tithe col- 
lector of a nunnery at Zurich to which Uri owed 
some kind of tribute. The boy is supposed to 
have stood under a lime-tree hard by, where the 
local assizes were held. This was cut down m 
1369 and its site is marked by a fountain with 
the figure of the founder, a magistrate named 
Besler, who thought himself more entitled to 
commemoration than the historic tree. 

The apple has played an important part in 
the world's history. In the fruit kingdom it 
reigns in proud sovereignty. It is true that 
countless poets (chiefly of the young or college 
variety) have sought inspiration of the grape, and 
that in the last decades of the nineteenth century 
the pomegranate tried audaciously to pose as the 
symbol that should explain the eternal verities. 
But the passionate pomegranate convinced no- 
body but a few artists and some young ladies 
who yearned after souls ; and though I admit 
the distinction and fascination of the juice 

" that can with logic absolute 
The two and seventy jarring sects confute." 



I must own that at great crises of history the ' 
human mind has always called in the lordly yet ' 
homely apple. And what a pother it has always 
caused ! First the unfortunate denouement of 
the garden scene of the Eden tragedy ; then ■ 
the rape of Helen and the Trojan war ; and last, .' 
but assuredly not least, the tumult of the Swiss ; 
war of freedom. Placid, succulent fruit of dis- ; 
cord ! 

The apple that raised William Tell to great- 
ness has been sung by poet and musician. But < 
not least pleasing is the version of the " White 
Book " of the Sarnen notary that dates from 
the middle of the fifteenth century. 

" Now it happened one day that the bailiff, 
Gessler, went to Ure, and took it into his head t 
and put a pole under the lime-tree in Ure, and 
set up a hat upon the pole, and had a servant near 
it, and made a command whoever passed by 
there he should bow before the hat, as though , 
the lord were there ; and he who did it not, j 
him he would punish and cause to repent i 
heavily, and the servant was to watch and tell ^ 
of such an one. Now there was an honest man j 
called Thall ; he had also sworn with Stou- 
pacher (in a conspiracy already made against 
the Austrians). Now he went rather often to 
and fro before it. The servant who watched 
by the hat accused him to the lord. The lord 
went and had Thall sent, and asked him why 


In the Land of Tell 

e was not obedient to his bidding, and do as he 
vas bidden. Thall spake : 'It happened with- 
)ut mahce, for I did not know that it would vex 
i/our Grace so highly ; for were I witty, then 
lA^ere I called something else and not the Tall' 
[[i.e. Fool). Now Tall was a good archer ; he 
tiad also pretty children. These the lord sent 
for, and forced Tall with his servants that Tall 
must shoot an apple from the child's head. Now 
Tall saw well that he was mastered, and took an 
arrow and put it into his quiver ; the other 
arrow he took in his hand, and stretched his 
cross-bow, and prayed God that he might save 
his child, and shot the apple from the child's head. 
The lord liked this well and asked him what he 
meant by it [that he had put an arrow into his 
quiver]. He answered him and would gladly 
have said no more. The lord would not leave 
off ; he wanted to know what he meant by it. 
Tall feared the lord, and was afraid he would 
kill him. The lord understood his fear and 
spake : ' Tell me the truth ; I will make thy 
life safe and not kill thee.' Then spake Tall : 
' Since you have promised me, I will tell you the 
truth, and it is true : had the shot failed me, so 
that I had shot my child, I had shot the arrow 
into you or one of your men.' Then spake the 
lord : ' Since now this is so, it is true I have 
promised thee not to kill thee,' and had him 
bound, and said he would put him into a 



place where he would never more see sun or 
moon." 1 

Then Tell was thrown into a boat, and the 
lord Gessler sailed with him for a dark dungeon. 
But a great storm came on, and the boatmen 
were fearful that they would sink. So they un- 
loosed Tell (for he was a skilful sailor), and bade 
him take them to land. He made for a flat rock, 
and, just as he brought the craft alongside, seized' 
his forfeited bow and arrow^s. Then jumping' 
out himself on to the rock, he pushed the boat 
with Gessler and the terrified sailors adrift on 
the stormy waters. Ever since the rock has 
been known as " Tellsplatte." But fearing that 
Gessler might escape Tell fled swiftly over the 
hills to the " Hohle Gasse," near Kiissnacht, 
and there laid himself in ambush to wait for the 
coming of the lord. At last he came, and Tell, 
loosing an arrow from his bow, shot the tyrant 
dead. And Gessler fell back, crying with his 
latest breath, " This is Tell's shaft." But Tell 
went away over the mountains to his home in 
Uri. V The chronicler of the '' White Book " does 
not say that Gessler's defier took any other part 
in the uprising of the cantons, or tell of any of 
his exploits in the war of freedom. 

Such is the legend of William Tell, the archer- 
patriot, the prototype of Swiss liberty. One 
might quarrel with the idolatry that has been 

» Translation by Mr W. D. M'Crackan. 

In the Land of Tell 

lavished on him. It would have been more heroic 
to refuse the test that endangered his child's life, 
to have shot down the tyrant where he stood, 
instead of lurking behind bushes to assassinate. 
But why carp at the details of a picturesque 
story, when alas ! criticism with its heavy foot 
dogs the nimble steps of the romancer ? ^^ ^ ^ . 

At one time the heresy of the unbeliever met I, 

with harsh treatment at the hands of the patriotic 
people of Uri. In 1760 a certain Uriel Freuden- 
berger wrote a pamphlet that cast doubts on 
the historical existence of the hero, and immedi- 
ately an infuriated populace seized on the offend- 
ing papers and had them burned publicly by the 
hangman. But even earlier than this the legend 
had been looked at askance, for were not all 
contemporary chroniclers silent about him ? 
Yet it was asserted that in 1388 no less than 
a hundred and fourteen persons in Uri had sworn 
to the landsgemeinde that they personally had 
known Tell. How convincing it would have been 
if eighty years after Napoleon's death the French 
Chamber had been forced to call together a hun- 
dred persons to swear to the conqueror's exist- 
ence ! 

The legend, indeed, is older by far than Swiss ^ ^ 

freedom. The skilful longbowman forced by a 
tyrant to shoot an apple from the head of his i 

child is a figure familiar to the folk-lore of \ 

half-a-dozen Germanic countries. As far north 
N 193 


as Iceland is his exploit sung, in Norway, Den- 
mark and Holstein, and by the green waters of 
the Rhine. Saxo Grammaticus, the twelfth- 
century father of Hamlet, has told the story 
in pompous Latin ; the author of " William 
Cloudesly " has repeated it in the pure English 
of our ancient ballads. But Cloudesly was more 
akin in character to Robin Hood and the English 
heroes of the merry greenwood than to the 
Swiss patriot. He proposed tSe apple test in a 
spirit of braggadocio to save his own neck. Still 
a comparison of the two legends leaves no doubt 
of their common origin : 

" Thou art the best archer, then sayd the Kynge, 
Forsothe that ever I se. 
And yet for your love, sayd Wyllyam 
I wyll do more maystery. 

" I have a sonne is seven yere olde, 
He is to me full deare ; 
I wyll hym tye to a stake ; 

All shall se, that be here ; *•» 

" And lay an apple upon hys head, 
And go syxe score paces hym fro, 
And I my selfe with a brode arrow 
Shall cleve the apple in two. 

" Now haste the, then sayd the Kynge, 
By hym that dyed on a tre. 
But yf thou do not, as thou hast sayde 
Hanged shalt thou be. 


In the Land of Tell 

" That I have promised, sayd Wyllyam 
That I wyll never forsake. 
And there even before the Kynge 
In the earth he drove a stake : 

" And bound thereto hys eldest sonne. 
And bad hj^m stand styll thereat ; 
And turned the childs face hym fro, 
Because he should not start. 

" An apple upon hys head he set 
And then hys bowe he lent : 
Syxe score paces they were meaten 
And thether Cloudesle went. 

" There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe, 
His bowe was great and longe, 
He set that arrowe in his bowe. 
That was both styffe and stronge. 

• ••••• 

" Cloudesle clefte the apple in two. 
His soone he dyd not nee. 
' Ouer Godes forbode,' sayde the Kynge, 
' That thou should shote at me ! ' " 

William of course not only saves his life, but is 
given a position of trust about the king ; his 
wife and children are well provided for, and all 
ends happily in the good old-fashioned English 

But quite apart from the fact that this apple 
legend was in circulation long before its hero is 
said to have lived, it is quite impossible to find 
any niche in history for the picturesque figure of 
Wilham Tell. Gessler, in the " White Book," was 



one of the Hapsburg bailiffs, but alas ! in Uri 
the last Hapsburg bailiff was found in 1231, 
and the cleaving of the apple is placed by its 
defenders some eighty years later. The three 
forest cantons of Switzerland did indeed unite 
against the Austrian's tyranny, but it was by a 
long and weary struggle, in which the whole 
population bore a part, that independence was 
achieved, not by the exploits of a single man. 
History has given the cantons the more honour- ' 
able part, but every patriotic Swiss prefers 
the romantic story of Tell and the murdered 
tyrant to the more sober narrative of the quiet 
heroism of his peasant ancestry. 

The truth is William Tell was an epical char- 
acter, as Achilles was, differing only in degree' 
and remoteness, not in kind. The notary of| 
Sarnen was not a genius, therefore we have no 
Iliad. But what we have is a collection ofj 
popular legends, embodying the ideals and! 
aspirations of a rude but freedom-loving people, 
who had just shaken themselves free of ai 
tyrant's yoke. For years these stories were 
handed down by word of mouth, then, when the 
young confederation was flushed with victory, 
rejoicing in its overthrow of that pillar of I 
European chivalry, Charles the Bold of Bur- 
gundy, for the first time the legends were put 
down in black and white. Three heroes were 
put forward, one by each of the three cantons of 


In the Land of Tell 

Uri, Unterwalden and Schwyz, Queerly enough, 
the most legendary of the trio caught most 
deeply the popular fancy. 

It is strange that pride in a heroic past is more 
deep-seated in states and individuals than is the 
desire for a splendid future. The forest cantons, 
having won to independence by their own 
exertions, created for themselves a mythical 
and glorious history. They had been, they said, 
from time immemorial free and independent 
republics. Voluntarily they had submitted to 
the Emperor Frederick II. But the hated 
Hapsburg had oppressed them, had insulted 
them by giving them cruel and rapacious 
governors. In Tell the ancient spirit of inde- 
pendence had reawakened. He had restored 
them to the possession of their ancient rights. 
And so the heroes' sword, or, to speak more 
strictly, arrows, gleamed brighter for this re- 
flection of the age of gold. 

Other legends there are that cluster round this 
first stand made for freedom by the Swiss. 
These are really marked by a certain degree of 
historical accuracy, though the colours are 
heightened by the romancers' imagination. The 
oppressions of the bailiffs are still set forward 
as the ultimate cause of revolt. 

At Samen, von Landenberg, the governor, 

coveted a fine yoke of oxen belonging to a farmer 

of Melchi. He sent his servants to take them 



by force, charged to tell the farmer thati 
" peasants must draw the plough " themselves. 
This enraged the old man's son, who struck at 
one of the servants with his ox-goad, breaking 
his finger. The insulted governor sent for the 
rebellious youth, but he had fled, fearing the 
lord's anger. So von Landenberg seized on the 
old farmer himself, dragged him to the castle and 
had his eyes put out. 

And other governors were just as bad. 

"In those days there was an upright man in 
Alzellen who had a pretty wife, and he who was 
lord there wanted to have the woman whether 
she would or not. The lord came to Alzellen into 
her house ; the husband was in the forest. He 
forced the woman to make ready a bath for him, 
and said she must bathe with him. The woman 
prayed God to keep her from shame. . , . The 
husband came in the meantime and asked her; 
what ailed her. She spake : ' The lord is there 
and forced me to make ready a bath for him.' 
The husband grew angry, and went in and smote 
the lord to death in that hour with an axe, and | 
delivered his wife from shame." ^ 

At the same time Gessler reappears as bailiff' 
"in the name of the empire" at Steinen in, 
Schwyz, where lived also one Stoupacher. 
Stoupacher had prospered in the world and built 
for himself a fine house of stone. One day the 
1 Translation by Mr W. D. M'Crackan. 

I In the Land of Tell 

I bailiff noticed it and demanded whose it was. 
j "It belongs to God, your lordship, and to me," 
j replied the man, for he feared exceedingly the 
anger of the lord. And Gessler wrathfuUy said 
that it was a fine thing for a peasant to have so 
fine a house, and continued to harass Stoupacher 
because of it. When this weighed down the 
heart of the good man, his wife begged to know 
the cause of his sadness, for she said, " Although 
it is said that women give but foolish counsels, 
who knows what the Almighty may not bring to 
pass ? " So he laid bare his sorrow to his wife, 
who counselled him to seek out others in Uri 
and Unterwalden who suffered also at the hands 
of the governors. And she told him of the 
families of Fiirst and of Zur Frauen. 

Now before long Stoupacher fell in with him 
who had struck the servant of von Landenberg 
with the ox-goad, burning to avenge his blinded 
father, and also with one of the Fiirsts of Uri. 
" Each confided his need and grief to the other, 
and took counsel and they took an oath to- 
gether. And when the three had sworn to each 
other, then they sought and found one from 
Nidwalden ; he also swore with them, and they 
found now and again secretly, men whom they 
drew to themselves, and swore to each other 
faith and truth, both to risk life and goods, and 
to defend themselves against the lords, and 
when they wanted to do and undertake any- 



thing, they went by the Myten Stein at night 
to a place which is called Riitli. There they met 
together and each one of them brought men 
with him in whom they could trust, and con- 
tinued that some time and met nowhere else in 
those days save in the Riitli." 

Now so monstrous were the oppressions of the 
bailiffs that before long a powerful band of injured 
men gathered around Stoupacher in the moun- 
tains, until at last they were so strong that they 
were able to carry on warfare against the Haps- 
burg rulers. Strong towers and castles they 
took and levelled with the ground, Zwing Uri 
near Amsteg, Swandau in Schwyz, Rotzberg 
in Nidwalden, and the castle of Samen in 
Obwalden, where there was a very fierce fight. 
And when the governors had been expelled, the 
three forest cantons made a perpetual league to 
guard their independence, and made Becken- 
ried the place of their meetings. 

That is the "White Book" narrative. It 
bristles with inaccuracies, but at least the names 
of von Landenberg, Stauffacher or Stoupacher, 
Fiirst and Zur Frauen are known to history. The 
story of the three men meeting by night on the 
lonely Riitli is picturesque, and not impossible. 
History does not confirm it, neither does she 
condemn it ; and the Riitli cries out for a con- 
spiracy, just as Stevenson declares that certain 
spots demand a murder. So the reader may 


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In the Land of Tell 

take or leave the story as he will. For my part, 
I incline towards that suspension of disbelief for 
a moment that is supposed to constitute poetic 

Yet it is a pity that the growth of at best 
dubious legends should have been allowed to 
obscure in the popular imagination the splendid 
fight that the peasants of the mountains and the 
forests actually made for freedom. The battle 
of Morgarten in 1315 has been termed the Swiss 
Thermopylae, but by it the cantons won, not 
lost, their liberty. As a source of inspiration 
it should be equal at least to Bannockburn. It 
was a dramatic episode. The peasantry of the 
forest states had at last dared to take arms 
against the power of Austria : the monastery of 
Einsiedeln had been attacked. Then the Em- 
peror sent out an expedition under his brother 
Leopold to crush the insolent upstarts who had 
dared to flout the head of the Holy Roman 
Empire. Proudly the thoughtless cavalcade 
trooped into the narrow pass of Morgarten, and 
along the Lake of Egeri. The morning sun- 
light flashed on burnished armour, and fluttering 
pennons of rainbow hues challenged the hoary 
mountains. Then suddenly a rattle of pebbles 
down the hillsides that changed to a thundering 
roar as huge boulders were dislodged, bounding 
from crag to crag until they scattered death 
among the Austrian host. The despised peasants 



had grimly ranged themselves on the neighbour- 
ing heights. A fusillade succeeded of rocks an( 
tree-trunks. Panic spread among the Austrians.] 
In the pass of Morgarten was a struggling mass 
of men and horses, fighting against each othei 
to escape from the death trap in which the] 
found themselves. Down rushed the peasants 
from the hills. Before their scythes and axes 
the flower of the Empire went down, or, flying 
headlong, were driven by thousands into the sunj 
lit waters of the lake. Leopold, pale and terrifiedj 
escaped to bring the news of the slaughter of his 
troops. A few weeks later the victors met a^ 
Brunnen, and on gth December 1315 renewec 
and extended the pact of 1291, which for fiv^ 
hundred years formed the basis of the ieden 

It is, of course, of no material importanc^ 
whether Tell actually lived or not, and one's onl] 
regret is that Switzerland was not endowed witl 
a more nobly-imagined national hero. Howevei 
he appears to satisfy the aspirations of oldl 
fashioned Switzers, particularly of his fellowj 
countrymen of Uri. Once a year Schiller T 
rather tedious tragedy is acted in the littl] 
wooden theatre on the outskirts of Altdoi 
The audience is usually composed of local people 
and of friends of the performers, with a sprinkling 
of tourists. There are generally several monks 
and priests to be seen on the rough wooden 


tin the Land of Tell 
benches. The clergy have always been staunch 
upholders of the legend. The cast is composed, 
as at Ober Ammergau, of people of the neigh- 
bourhood — innkeepers, farmers, schoolmasters, 
artisans, and shopkeepers. They are partly 
selected because of their physical fitness for the 
parts, and are very well trained by the director 
of the Lucerne cantonal theatre. They are 
somewhat stagy and wooden, like most amateurs, 
but the audience is not critical and appreciates 
their obvious sincerity. Between the acts you 
go out into the air, and regale yourself with beer 
and cakes under the trees till a cow-bell an- 
nounces the end of the interval. 



The Virgin Mother is beloved in the country ol 
Tell. The arid theology of Geneva has chase( 
her from many of the newer cantons, but ii 
the mountain fastnesses of Einsiedeln she keeps 
her ancient state and splendour and draws to hei 
shrine pilgrims from every quarter of the globe 
to the number of two hundred thousand ever^ 

She is miraculous, Our Lady of the Hermitsj 
Many times has she escaped the perils of fire anc 
war. Five times has her habitation been burnt! 
to the ground, but always the sacred image has 
reappeared to bring consolation to thousands 
of the faithful. Her altars are hung witl 
votive tablets, which, in crude line and garisl 
colour, tell the story of marvellous escapes and 
recoveries, which never would have taken place 
but for the gracious intercession of Our Lady. 

It is a desolate spot, you think, that the holy 
maiden has chosen for her miracles ; dark and 
wind-swept, backed by a forest of gloomy firs, 
with the two sharp peaks of the Mythen in the 
distance. Still less happy is the building that 
men raised for her in the first half of the eigh- 
teenth century. Of no particular architecture, 



the Benedictine monastery rears two nondescript 
towers, one on either side of the doorway, and 
then, with geometrical precision, extend two 
wings of commonplace masonry to right and 
left. In front of these sweep semicircular 
colonnades, the style in imitation of Bernini. 

But gay and humming with life is the little 
town of nearly nine thousand inhabitants which 
has grown up round the monastery. For 
Einsiedeln has become a second Lourdes, and 
pilgrims of all classes must be catered for just as 
though they were vulgar tourists. And, more- 
over. Catholic pilgrims must always have 
offerings to lay before the shrines of saints, with 
relics and souvenirs that can be dipped in holy 
water and blessed by the priests on days of 
festival. So the little town is crowded with 
shops and open stalls where tinsel saints and 
Virgins of wax or plaster, where sacred hearts 
and models of human limbs, with medals, 
pictures, lockets and beads, heaped together in a 
tawdry jumble, are loudly canvassed by their 
enterprising hawkers. Religion and commercial 
3nterprise join hands. The cinematograph is 
pressed into the service of Christ and the 
Mother of God ; pilgrimages to Jerusalem, 
famous miracles, and the representation of 
the Passion are jerked before the eyes of the 
sober, pious bourgeois who form the great 
mass of the September pilgrims. The audience 



is edified and no one's sense of propriety is 

During the weeks of festival one of the chiel 
attractions of this mountain sanctuary is the 
fountain that stands in the centre of the opei 
space in front of the monastery — Our Lady's 
Spring. For here the Virgin of the Snows 
performs some of her most wonderful miracles^ 
It is said, and believed of simple people, thatj 
wandering far afield, Christ himself came one 
day to this spring, and being thirsty, drank dee] 
of its waters, which straightway he blessed foi 
ever afterwards. And pilgrims tell of marvel- 
lous cures effected at the fountain under the 
smile of his holy mother, who watches over the 
sacred water from the shadow of a grey marble 
canopy supported on seven columns. The bline 
see, the dumb speak, the sick are cured of then 
diseases, the sins of the penitent are washec 
away, exactly as in the days of the apostles. 

Hundreds of pilgrims gather round the spring 
to take their share in its benefits. But here 
difiiculty arises. The water is thrown into the 
basin through fourteen jets of bronze, eacl 
representing some strange bird or beast. Froi 
which jet of water did the Master drink ? Foi 
the pilgrim ascribes a great antiquity to the little 
bronze and marble structure ! So, as no tablel 
points out the sacred stream, he must drinl 
from each in turn, lest by chance he should hil 



m one that had not satisfied the Divine thirst, 
lor received the Divine blessing. 

Having thus secured salvation both for his 
aody and his soul, the pilgrim now passes on into 
;he Church of Our Lady, which stands in the 
centre of the convent buildings. If it is some 
jreat feast day, such as the Feast of the Rosary, 
le will find the building a dazzling blaze of 
ight and colour. Every altar in this vast 
:hurch gleams with its halo of a myriad waxen 
:andles. Every inch of wall-space is painted in 
flowing colours ; every niche is occupied by the 
igure of saint or angel with garments of corn- 
lower blue and flaming scarlet, overlaid with 
leavy gilding. Everywhere on walls and 
Vaulted ceiling are pictures and frescoes, painted 
vith a wealth of symbolism and ornament. 
The Virgin Mary, the apostles, prophets, kings, 
md patriarchs ; Abraham, Isaac and David, 
he angel Gabriel, Adam and Eve, Jephthah, 
^elchizedech and Elias, all claim attention along 
vith the supreme sacrifice of the Christ. Jacob's 
^adder appears behind the altar of St Rosary, 
md St Meinrad, the holy founder of the abbey, 
idorns that dedicated to himself; and raised 
Lbove all, as the crowning glory of the edifice, 
s Kraus' enormous " Assumption of the Virgin " 
vith its garlands of cherubs' heads. 

In a dark chapel beneath the gaudy dome is 
reasured the image of Our Lady which has made 



the fame of Einsiedeln. It is but a piece of 
rudely carved pine wood, but the devout have 
clothed it in rich brocades and decked it with 
costly jewels. For to the wealthy pilgrim from 
foreign shores, just as to the humble peasant 
woman of the mountains, this statue is the 
vehicle through which the ever-interceding 
Mother of God has chosen to rain down benefits 
on humanity. And so the space in front of the 
grating that half reveals the image in its shrine 
is always thronged with worshippers, and the 
walls are hung with wax dolls, knots of white 
ribbon, tawdry paintings and inscriptions — 
all the offerings of gratitude. 

Highly treasured by the Benedictine brothers 
is a magnificent chandelier of gilded bronze, 
a gift from the Emperor Napoleon III. Many 
European monarchs have presented their por- 
traits to the monastery, but alas ! what are 
portraits when princes formerly bestowed fiefs 
and fertile lands ? For now, after a career 
of temporal glory, Einsiedeln has returned to 
the purely spiritual pre-eminence of its early 

Saint Meinrad was the founder of the abbey, 
a holy, quiet-loving man who would have fled 
in horror from the crowd of pilgrims now wor- 
shipping at his shrine. He belonged to the 
haughty race of the HohenzoUern, two members 
of which at that time ruled over the great 




Benedictine monastery of Reichnau, on the 
island in the Zeller See. Here the youth was 
sent to school, and here he decided to pass his 
( life, taking the Benedictine vows. Meinrad 
possessed uncommon fascination of manner, so 
when, in spite of his youth, the monks of Bol- 
lingen begged him to become director of their 
studies, no one grudged him the distinction. 
On his journey thither the courtly monk called 
to pay his respects to the Abbess of Zurich, who, 
pleased with his unusual modesty and learning, 
presented him with a statue of the Virgin and 
her Child. This he carried in his arms to his 
new abode and never parted from it all his life. 
He was wise in this, for the image was miraculous, 
and destined to become famous throughout the 
length and breadth of Christendom. 

But Meinrad was consumed with a passion for 
solitude, and finally he escaped from the monks 
of Bollingen, determining to seek salvation in 
the wilderness. Then, always clinging to his 
Madonna, he crossed over the lake, and sought 
a refuge on Mount Etzel. But the young 
anchorite was beloved of all the mountain folk. 
They crowded after him to his retreat. And 
Meinrad, in true mediaeval fashion, more eager 
for the luxuries of his own soul than for the 
happiness of his fellow-men, fled once more before 
their anxious solicitude. Further and higher 

he clambered, until a dense and gloomy forest 
o 209 


of fir-trees seemed to give promise of security. 
This was known as the Sombre Forest. 

Now before he had journeyed far in the 
Sombre Forest Meinrad found a spring of 
water. Here he decided to make his dwelling. 
For himself he built a hermit's cell, and for the 
Virgin and her Child a chapel, the best that he 
was able. For years and years he dwelt among 
the woods and mountains, like some stern St 
John the Baptist, and here he tamed two ravens, 
which were his only friends. But escape from 
the people he could not, and he was forced to 
receive, and counsel and confess his flock as he 
had done before. And the great holiness of 
Meinrad became a word all over the country- 

But it was whispered also among those that 
hated the Church that the holy man had heaped 
up great treasures in his cell. And one day two 
robbers broke in on him and murdered him for 
the sake of his riches, but they found nothing 
save the image of the Virgin and the Child. 
Then, terrified, the robbers fled ; but the ravens 
of Meinrad pursued them wherever they went. 
And finally they came to Zurich, and the birds 
beat their wings against the window of their 
chamber until they got in, and settled down on 
them and could not be persuaded to let them go. 
But the magistrates of Zurich inquired into the 
mystery, and the news of the foul murder got 



abroad, and the two ruffians confessed their 
crime. " Then," adds the mediaeval chronicler, 
without a word of comment, " were they both 
broken on the wheel." The seal of the abbey of 
Einsiedeln shows these selfsame ravens, so who 
shall say the story is not true ? 
I Many hermits and anchorites were drawn to 
the Sombre Forest by the news of Meinrad's 
death. Some Benedictine brothers rebuilt his 
cell. Their first abbot was Eberhard, who in 
934 built a church for the sacred image. The 
unusual sanctity of the place merited some 
supernatural manifestation. The legend runs 
that Conrad, the Bishop of Constance, who was 
to consecrate the chapel, entered it the night 
before to prepare himself by prayer for the 
::eremony. A strange sight met his eyes. A 
Light filled the building that proceeded from 
10 earthly lamps or candles. Clouds of incense 
rolled up from censers swung by angels, and 
ningled with a sound of heavenly music. At 
:he altar, attended by the four evangelists, stood 
:he Christ himself, and behind him St Peter 
md St Gregory. The consecration of the 
;hurch was celebrated by the Godhead. 

All night and morning Conrad remained in 
)rayer, but the monks thought he had been 
Ireaming when he told them of the wonders 
le had seen. So at their desire he began the 
onsecration rite. But immediately the build- 





ing was filled with a great voice, which cried a S 
out warningly : " Cessa, cessa, frater f Capellami 
divinitus consecrata est ! " Such was the proud 
origin of the convent of Einsiedeln. A dozen 
successive popes have affirmed the truth of the 
legend, and devout peasants still believe it 
among the mountains of Schwyz. Cannot one 
still obtain plenary indulgence, through a visit 
to the shrine of Our Lady of the Hermits ? 

This divine baptism at once gave the founda- 
tion of Einsiedeln a prestige among the monas- |i 
teries of Switzerland second only to St Gall. 
It was dowered with wealth and lands, and by 
1247 its abbot had become a Prince of the Holy (i 
Roman Empire, with a seat in the Diet. Like 
the lay princes he had a household composed of 
the highest nobles in the land. He claimed — 
and asserted — a sort of sovereignty over the 
people of Schwyz, under the protection of the 
Count of Rapperschwyl and the Duke o\ 

But this suzerainty, while marking the heigh 
of the abbey's power, was also the cause of it: 
decline. Perpetual quarrels arose, as every 
where in Switzerland, between monks an( 
peasants over conditions of land tenure. Con 
stant complaints went from Einsiedeln to th 
Holy See concerning the enormities committo 
by the men of Schwyz ; how when the cattl 

of the monastery strayed into fields which th 






I Schwyzers claimed as their own, they never 

, came back again to the convent. The peasants 

I definitely repudiated all allegiance to the monks. 

, To the Emperor alone, they said, did they owe 

! homage. But the Emperor, rejoined the holy 

I men, had bestowed charters on the abbey that 

leased to them the lands of Schwyz. The 

I quarrel became more bitter, and blood grew 

hotter. Then, when the peasants of the forest 

cantons first began to feel the sprouting of their 

wings in the years before Morgarten, Johannes, 

Baron von Schwanden, became abbot. Speedily 

' he earned for himself a hateful reputation among 

the peasant folk. He got the Bishop of Con- 

i stance to lay the whole country under an 

'interdict. The church doors were closed, the 

bells were silent ; children and aged folk were 

refused the help of religion at their launching 

into this world or the next. Marriage was 

I proscribed ; no longer could the sinner claim 

absolution at the confessional. 

|i The anger of the Schwyzers blazed out. The 

Empire of which the forest states formed part 

was in hot dispute between Ludwig of Upper 

Bavaria and Frederick of Austria. Einsiedeln 

was under the protection of the latter house, but 

I the intrepid farmers did not fear, or did not 

realise, the forces that they were raising up 

'against themselves. In 1314, on the Feast of 

the Epiphany, they gathered together in a pro- 


Switzerland W 





testing throng under the presidency of their 
Landamman, Werner Stauffacher. Red-hot 
oratory inflamed their passions. Grasping such 
weapons as they had, a force of angry men surged 
out into the night, and set off, shouting for hberty, 
on a three hours' march to Einsiedeln. A 

The expedition was marked by discreditable' 
excesses. It has left its epic, written by Rudolf 
von Rudegg, the rector of the seminary of the 
monastery. The monks first learnt their danger 
from the wild pealing of the chapel bell, but by 
that time it was too late to make any organised 
defence. All were taken prisoner. But while ^"'^' 
some of the attacking party had been fighting, /°^'^ 
others had discovered the abbot's cellars. They 'i™' 
gave themselves up to drunken rioting ; they ™ 
profaned the holy places, scattered the sacred W> 
relics. Those soberer than their brethren searched '' ^^^^^ 
for the supposititious charters but found no "i^^H 
trace of them. To make up, they tore the books 'M^'^ 
of the brothers from their bindings and made a ' ™se 
great bonfire, on which they flung papal bulls, .^^ 
accounts and everything that came to their ''^^p 

Rudegg in his poem makes no mention of 
Stauffacher, which is strange, considering the i ^^^ li 
position which that magistrate occupied in the ' ^^^ m; 
state. He describes feehngly the desecration of "lli 
his much-loved convent : ^lie ir 

" Our monastery is in the hands of the spoilers. §ioupe 

214 1 


The doors of the holy places are mutilated with 
axes, the sacred vessels and the garments of the 
priests are seized by the sacrilegious, who trample 
under foot and scatter to the winds, not only the 
ashes of the noble martyrs, but the consecrated 
host. ... At daybreak the enemy surround the 
belfry (whither the monks had sought refuge) 
armed with crow-bars and blazing torches for 
the assault. The convent porter takes up his 
place on the narrow stairway, which, he tells the 
fathers, he can hold single-handed with an axe, 
as the enemy must advance only one at a time ; 
but they refuse this armed defence, as not meet 
for their order, and recommend themselves to 
God. . . . The enemy swarm in, but we receive 
them with a courteous greeting. ' Have no 
fear,' says one of them, ' our general has com- 
manded us only to secure your persons and seize 
your goods.' Silently we follow them, glad that 
this is the worst. We are lodged in a separate 
house which proves our prison. But up comes 
a further detachment, and finding the cellar 
and pantry bare, grow clamorous, demanding 
loudly their share of the booty and the prisoners. 
1 Pandemonium reigns. But at last the leader 
calls his men to order and gives directions for 
the march. 

" The aged and the sick they leave behind. 
The monks, the servants and the cattle are 
grouped in separate companies. The word to 



march is given, and the cavalcade moves forward. 
The women of the village, when they see their 
husbands driven off with us, fill the air with their 
waihng, and call on Heaven for help. As we 
clamber up the Katzenstrich we are all overcome, 
and I would fall off to rest, but one of the guards 
bids me to clutch on to his mule's tail. 

" After the mountain is crossed we reach 
Altmatt, where a halt is made. The convent 
serving-men on payment of a ransom are set 
free. But we are kept close prisoners in the 
house of Werner Abackes for five days. Then 
comes the Landamman to escort us on the road 
to Schwyz. They force the monks to walk, 
though the priests are allowed horses. But 
the choir-master, who is clad in his robes of 
ceremony, cannot get his enormous boots into 
his stirrups. So his legs must dangle, and in 
this absurd manner we pass through crowds of 
jeering peasants into the town of Schwyz. We 
stop at the Town Hall, while the Mayor and 
Councillors quarrel over our fate. While the 
argument continues the local priest gets the 
Landamman's permission to give us a good meal. 
At nightfall the magistrate lets us know that 
Peter Jocholf is to be our gaoler, which alarms us 
greatly, for he is the biggest scoundrel in the 
town and knows no mercy. Nine of us in all 
. . . are left with him. We sup on tears, and as 
we rise from the bare board, the women, more 




vindictive than the men, assail us violently. 
' This fate is better than they deserve ! These 
monks who unjustly have excommunicated us 
and taken the food from our mouths should 
suffer as we have suffered, and bear the punish- 
ment of their crimes ! ' 

" For six weeks are we lodged in our narrow 
prison. . . . We beg leave to send a messenger to 
treat for our release. To this the Landamman, 
after taking counsel with the elders, agrees. 
Our ambassador Rudolf von Wunwenberg seeks 
out the Graf von Toggenburg and the Graf von 
Hapsburg, and secures their mediation with 
the Landamman of Schwyz. Three days after 
his return, the assembly is called together; 
our pardon is pronounced ; and once again we 
are at liberty ! The priest who in our affliction 
eleven weeks before, had bidden us to his table, 
now makes a splendid banquet to celebrate our 
joyful deliverance. We eat freely of his meat 
md wine — he has an excellent vintage ! — and 
then set out to seek our Abbot. So overcome is 
he to see us alive as well, that tears roll down 
lis cheeks. He makes a great feast for us and 
Dasses round brimming flagons. And so restored 
>vith meat and wine, we pass the hours in joy 
md mirth." 

So after all the affair ended happily for the 

nonks, for the Schwyzers, in spite of their orgies 

, )n the night of the raid, seem to have acted with 




a lack of brutality quite marvellous in the four- 
teenth century. 

But all the brothers of Einsiedeln were men of 
wealth and high connection, knights and barons 
of the Empire. Such an outrage could not pass 
unavenged. And so the chivalry of Austria rode 
against the forest state, only to break their 
spears in vain among the rocky defiles of Mor- 

The glory of Einsiedeln was now departed. 
The monastery exchanged the proud position 
of overlord of the Schwyz for that of humble 
dependent, and in 1798 its territories were 
formally annexed by the canton. The same 
year the ancient abbey fell a prey to the French 
invaders, who rifled the treasury and stripped 
the altars of everything they could bear away. 
Terror struck the hearts of the villagers, for 
they feared that their Black Virgin had been 
desecrated by the hands of the spoiler. But 
no ; the monks had fled to Tyrol, bearing with 
them the palladium of Einsiedeln, and back in 
triumph came the statue, when the invader had 
left the mountain fastnesses. 

During the anti-clerical outburst of the middle 
decades of the nineteenth century, the monastery 
of Our Lady of the Hermits was treated by the 
Swiss Government with greater favour than most 
of the religious foundations. But even this last 
of the Benedictine houses lived in fear of trans- 



formation into a school or barracks, so the far- 
seeing descendants of St Meinrad laid up 
treasure for themselves in a foreign country. 
In far-away Indiana they built a farm and 
church as a place of refuge, and prepared to fly 
with their treasures if need should arise. But 
the necessity never came ; the day of persecu- 
tion passed away ; and after a thousand years 
the Virgin with her Child, given by the Abbess of 
Zurich to the young monk of the courtly bearing 
and the yearning eyes, still holds her court in her 
stately home among the mountains and the pine 



With less of historic and human interest than 
Tell's countr\^ the Bernese Oberland remains 
for most lisitors the pearl of S\\itzerland. It 
is the whole country in miniature. Lakes, large 
and small, gleam at the foot of dark gxeen hills, 
savage gorges open upon valle^^s of \'ivid 
emerald, dazzHng glaciers reach down from 
mountains of majestic form, torrents dissolve 
over the edge of precipices in a fairy mist — here 
you find all that you have come to Switzerland 
to seek. Alas ! the glorious vision is too often 
veiled by the rain which keeps the land so green. 
Even in the midst of summer you may awake 
morning after morning to find the clouds have 
descended from the mountains to settle on the 
town. The cheerless salons of the hotel are 
encumbered all day with tourists of all nation- 
ahties \'isited onl}^ by misfortune. The Enghsh 
play bridge and read Tauchnitz editions with 
obstinate composure. The French and GermanSj 
after the manner of their kind, loaf round, doing 
nothing except smoking and watching the English. 
Occasionally it is possible to whip up the poly- 
glottic crowd into some round game or the like 
tomfoolery ; but gloom resides on every brow. 


The Bernese Oberland 

Brave men and women sally forth in mackin- 
toshes and tell you on their return that they 
have enjoyed a grand tramp up the mountain. 
. You do not believe them, and you do not believe 
■ the hotel proprietor when he tells you that the 
1 rain is bound to finish next day . You call for your 
bill, pack your traps, and place the Alps as quickly 
as you can between you and the Oberland. 

Had you waited a day longer your eyes might 

have opened on a cloudless sky and on a land- 

1 scape fresh and glistening as a dewdrop, where 

^ the snow seemed fresh fallen on the mountains, 

the ice washed clear of all impurity, and the 

grass grown anew during the night. Long before 

I noon the ground is dry, the mountain paths hard 

beneath the feet. Flowers burst open on every 

side and a new-bom population of butterflies 

hovers over the roaring sea-green torrents. 

Nowhere can the sun of Switzerland smile more 

brightly than in the Oberland after a week of 


For all its damp and treacherous climate, 

therefore, Interlaken is never likely to want for 

( visitors. It is Europe's favourite window on 

, the Alps. From beneath the walnut-trees of 

, the Hoheweg all eyes are upturned towards the 

'' Jungfrau and her esquires, the Monk and the 

Ogre. Mountains are what people come here 

i for, mountains what they talk about. Dinner 

at the hotels is Uable to violent interruption by 



the guests' rushing frantically to the windows to 
witness the far-famed alpenglilh ; having seen 
which, they pick up their overturned chairs, 
remove the traces of the soup spilt on their 
garments, and resume their meal, purring with 
satisfaction the while. These enthusiasts never ^f^^" 
depart without buying one of those artfully 
contrived views on to which the light may be 
reflected through red paper so as to produce 
a tolerable resemblance to the alpengluh. The 
coquettish little shops of Interlaken abound in 
rubbish of this sort ; in little wooden bears, in 
carved models and toys of all descriptions, and 
in alpenstocks on which the tourist may have 
painted or carved the names of all the mountains 
he has climbed — in the funicular railways. Ex- 
cept these shops and its long fagade of preten- 
tious hotels, Interlaken has nothing to show. It 
is built almost entirely of wood ; but its houses 
can withstand the violence of the tempest and 
the snowstorm, and in the suburb of Unterseen 
you may see cottages brown with age. Behind 
them foams the Aar, connecting the lakes of 
Thun and Brienz on each side of the town. They 
were continuous till the plain between them on 
which Interlaken stands was formed by the 
deposits of the Liitschine. The name of the 
place was first borne by an abbey of Austin 
canons founded about 1130 under the protec- 
tion of the lords of Eschenbach, who also owned 


The Bernese Oberland 

,the village of Unterseen. At the beginning of the 
fourteenth century these domains came into 
the possession of the Hapsburgs, who in 1386 
■were forced to surrender them to Berne. In 1528 
the abbey was secularised, and the greedy re- 
public secured all its lands, including Brienz, 
Grindelwald, and Lauterbrunnen. The monas- 
tic buildings, a good deal restored and pulled 
.about, still stand near the eastern railway 
.station, and accommodate Catholic, Lutheran, 
and Anglican worshippers, according to the 
tolerant practice of German-speaking states. 

From the walls of the abbey in front of the 

, main street and its hotels stretches that level 

.^reen meadow, which still imparts so delightfully 

rustic an air to this swarming tourist resort. 

, There the cows can still wade knee-deep through 

:he lush herbage and mingle the tinkle of their 

1 ,3ells with the strains of the Viennese orchestras 

,.n the gardens of the hotels. The gardens them- 

I selves are often things of beauty, planted with 

.vallflowers and pansies, campion and phlox. 

[n the morning there is a dewy freshness about 

[nterlaken such as I have fancied must have 


! :lung to our old English spas, like Epsom and 
Tunbridge Wells, when people of quality used 

, ;o camp by them in tents. 

r Even the lazy man who has no wish to climb 
nountains may amuse himself here. He can 
.aunter across to the wooded Rugen and watch 


Switzerland i 



for a' 

ffet, ■ 






the to 



the squirrels playing hide-and-seek with the 
checkered sunbeams. Then, refreshed with milk 
from a local cow or good Bavarian beer, he 
may climb up to the ruined tower of Unspunnen, 
which is supposed to have been the home of 
Manfred. Byron in his Journal does not mention 
this castle ; but his account of his Oberland 
visit, though vivid, is meagre, and might have 
been written on a telegraph form. 

" Left Thoun," he says, under date 22nd Sep- 
tember 1816, " in a boat which carried us the 
length of the lake in three hours. The lake small ; 
but the banks fine. Rocks down to the water's 
edge. Landed at Newhause ; passed Inter- 
lachen ; entered upon a range of scenes beyond 
all description or previous conception. Passed 
a rock — inscription — two brothers — one mur- 
dered the other ; just the place for it. After a 
variety of windings came to an enormous rock. 
Arrived at the foot of the mountain (the Jung- 
frau, that is, the Maiden) ; glaciers ; torrents ; one 1% 
of these torrents nine hundred feet in height 
of visible descent. Lodged at the curate's. Set i ™' 
out to see the valley; heard an avalanche fall ™^^' 
like thunder ; glaciers enormous ; storm came 
on ; thunder, lightning, hail — all in perfection, 
and beautiful. I was on horseback ; guide ■% 
wanted to carry my cane. I was going to give it 'j'" P 
to him when I recollected that it was a sword-- y^"^! 
stick, and I thought the lightning might be '^^fal 


It is: 

The Bernese Oberland 

attracted towards him ; kept it myself ; a good 
deal encumbered with it, as it was too heavy 
for a whip, and the horse was stupid and stood 
still with every other peal. Got in, not very 
wet, the cloak being stanch. Hobhouse wet 
through. Hobhouse took refuge in a cottage ; 
sent man, umbrella, and cloak (from the curate's 
when I arrived) after him. Swiss curate's house 
very good indeed — much better than most 
English vicarages. It is immediately opposite 
the torrent I spoke of. The torrent is in shape 
curving over the rock, like the tail of a white 
horse streaming in the wind, such as it might be 
conceived would be that of the ' pale horse ' on 
which Death is mounted in the Apocalypse. 
It is neither mist nor water, but a something 
between both ; its immense height (nine hun- 
dred feet) gives it a wave or curve, a spreading 
here or condensation there, wonderful and in- 
describable. I think upon the whole that this 
day has been better than any of this present 

Most people who have walked up the vaUey 
of Lauterbrunnen wiU share the poet's pleasant 
memories. Down the fir-clad cliff to your 
right trickle the streams which baptise the 
valley, whispering the secrets of the upper air ; 
to your left brawls the Liitschine, separating 
you from pastures spangled with dandelions. 
Far ahead the clouds veil the Jungfrau and then 
p 225 


withdraw a pace, revealing the whiteness of her 
brow. The Staubbach — the pale horse's tail- 
waves in the wind and casts at times long 
shadows on the mountain wall. You may push 
on past the village up the wild gorge of the 
Trummelbach, to the very hem of the Virgin's 
robe, and count the rainbows ever changing 
in the triple falls ; or climb the steep path to 
Miirren, that you may stare the mountains boldly 
in the face. Perhaps you will be lucky enough 
to see a great rainbow overarching the Virgin 
Queen, as the halo in some bright Byzantine 
painting crowns a saint; and you should still 
be fit for the long walk down the valley to 
Interlaken, once beguiled for me by the chance 
companionship of a party of jolly Russian 
students who sang the ^'Marseillaise" as they 
strode along. 

To Grindelwald most people ascend now by 
rail, going by the Wengern Alp and Little 
Scheidegg and returning by Burglauenen and 
the valley of the Black Liitschine. That you J I 
will much appreciate the sublimity of the scene, 
travelling this way in August or September, I 
very much doubt. The little trains are crowded 
to the point of suffocation, chiefly, as it seems 
to me, with fat Germans and their red-faced 
stertorous wives, who feed each other with 
sausage and always possess themselves of the 
window-seats. Instead of the snowy dome of 



> « • > 

» 9 I. ' " ' 




of til 












The Bernese Oberland 

the Jungfrau, the smooth, rosy dome of a Teu- 
ton's bald head is generally the limit of your 
upward vision. Alight, therefore, at the 
Wengern Alp station and for a moment drink 
your fill of Alpine air and Alpine beauty. The 
narrow black trench beneath you is the valley 
of Lanterbrunnen. Opposite you, perhaps two 
miles as the crow flies, is the Jungfrau. From 
time to time blocks of ice detach themselves 
from the lower glaciers and fall with the sound 
of thunder into the Trumletenthal below. Our 
ambition enkindled, we push still higher, to the 
Little Scheidegg where we beard the ogre by 
treading on the very skirt of his white robe. 
But we have no reason to boast our temerity. 
At this very point begins the railway which will 
presently carry you to the very summit of the 
Oueen of the Oberland herself. Thus with a 
ring of fire and iron man has wedded the fair 
Jungfrau, to whom such a judge as W. M. Conway 
awards the palm among the Central Alps, her 
only rival being not a mountain but the mag- 
nificent Aletsch glacier, far behind. 

Down through the withered woods that re- 
minded the blighted Byron of his family, you 
pass to Grindelwald, not a very beautiful spot, 
at the foot of the Eiger and the Wetterhom. 
This verdant, chalet-strewn basin is inhabited 
by a race of gruff, money-grabbing, church-going 
hinds, and is infested in summer by Church Con- 


Switzerland | 

gresses. It is a flourishing winter resort, also, 
and, as most people know, is much less cold than 
Interlaken lower down. For all that, I am not 
much in love with Grindelwald, and like it less 
than any spot in the Oberland. After a visit 
to the nearest glacier, the day-tripper generally 
returns to the station and by dint of severe 
fighting secures a place in the train to Interlaken. 
One summer I took a bicycle to the Oberland, 
and have often thought that the rest it then 
enjoyed was largely responsible for its remark- 
able longevity. I used to take it with me in the 
train, but the rain always prevented me from 
returning astride it, as I had intended. However, 
I rode upon it right round the Lake of Thun — an 
easy afternoon excursion. This lake is hardly 
as beautiful as the Vierwaldstattersee, nor has 
it any particular historical or legendary interest ; 
but from its banks and its surface you certainly 
get unrivalled views of the Alpine pageant. 
A light mist hid the base of the mountains across 
the bright green water from my gaze ; at what 
seemed an infinite distance the peaks glistened 
in the pale sunlight, and I could have fancied 
that I beheld the bulwarks of some far aerial 
world. A huge bird flew out and remained 
poised for five or six minutes motionless above 
the water ; then he seemed to fly straight into 
the sun — as they say the dying eagles do. I 
thought this was, in fact, an eagle, but I am told 


The Bernese Oberland 

that this bird has almost disappeared from the 

There, at the north end of the lake, is the gate- 
way of the Oberland. It is still dominated by 
I the castle of the Counts of Kiburg, who, as we 
know, mortgaged the town to Berne, for no very 
.creditable reason. This erstwhile stronghold is 
of the usual Burgundian type, and rises nowa- 
days above a wilderness of greenery. Part of it 
iis a prison, the rest a museum full of banners 
won at Sempach and Morat and less honourable 
trophies. There is, for instance, a curious 
collection of hangman's cords, each of which 
'has choked the life out of a man. This is a 
' heritage of the bad old days ; they seldom 
I strangle men in Switzerland now, and the record 
for halters has long been held by the Anglo-Saxon 
1 countries, with Russia a good second. 

Thun has a stirring, even a poetical past, but 
the old parts of the town tend to dinginess and 
elsewhere the builder has been too aggressively 
at work. The favour of strangers does not mean 
:much to Thun, for it boasts a brisk trade and 
: some manufactures. It is, besides, the seat of 
the federal military academy ; and if Swiss 
cadets are not as aristocratic and opulent as 
the young gentlemen of Sandhurst, that they 
have in so commercial a country adopted so 
unremunerative a profession shows that they 
must have some money to spend. 



From the south-west shore of the lake the 
prospect is less splendid, but the way is pleasant, 
through gardens, plantations, and pretty villages. 
Near Spiez you pass the chateau of the once- 
powerful Erlachs of Berne. At Leissigen, near 
my journey's end, a surprise awaited me. Call- 
ing for a drink at a tiny rustic inn, I was served (||t 
by a trim waitress whose auburn hair and fresh 
complexion inspired me at a venture to address 
her in English. My suspicion was correct, and 
she answered in the unmistakable accents of a 
countrywoman. I remarked on the pleasant 
nature of the surprise in such an out-of-the-way 
spot. " Yes," she replied rather guardedly, 
" I don't suppose you expected to be served by 
an English girl here." She then asked me 
abruptly if I knew the Trocadero in London. 
Learning that I did, she told me that she had 
served behind the bar there for some time. 
" Then what on earth are you doing here ? " 
in my curiosity I rudely blurted out. She 
smiled mysteriously, answered that she liked 
the place, and disappeared into an inner room, 
obviously unwilling to continue the conversa- 
tion. There may have been no romance about 
the explanation, but I confess I should have 
liked to know how that typical West End bar- 
maid came to find herself drawing beer for Swiss 
cowherds and boatmen in a village in the Ober- 














The Bernese Oberland 

The Beatenberg on the opposite side of the 
Thunersee recalls, on the contrary, a disappoint- 
ment. We went out one hot morning, my sister 
and I, to visit the cave of St Beatus, whose story 
I may as well relate in the terms in which I first 
read it in Murray's Guide : 

" St Beatus, according to tradition, was a native 
of Britain, who coming from Lucerne converted 
the inhabitants of this part of Helvetia to 
Christianity in the first century a.d. Being 
minded to take up his residence on the shore 
of the lake, he fixed his eyes upon a grotto, well 
suited to a hermit, but at the time occupied by 
a dragon. The monster, however, was easily 
ejected, simply by hearing a notice to quit ad- 
dressed to him by St Beatus. The anchorite was 
in the habit of crossing the lake on his cloak, 
which when spread on the water served instead 
of a boat. The historical St Beatus was an 
Irish missionary who in the 5th century con- 
verted the dwellers round the Lake of Lucerne ; 
the dragon incident comes from the history of 
St Beatus of Vendome, whose history was 
arbitrarily blended with that of the Swiss St 
Beatus in the i6th century by the reformer 

Up the steep face of the mountain we toiled 
to pay our devotions at the shrine of the wonder- 
working hermit, through magnificent woods 
which somehow afforded no shade. It seemed 



a long way to the cave, and we began to wonder 
whether we really wanted to go there. At this 
moment a signboard greeted us with the in- 
spiring legend : " Hotel Kleinschwein — St 
Beatenberg — Englisch Gingerbier." English 
ginger beer ! at such a moment the appeal was 
irresistible. We already felt it foaming round 
our lips. Panting like steam engines, puffing 
and breathing hard, we clambered on, struggling 
up that slope with frantic energy. It is a fairly 
steep ascent at any time, as those who have 
ascended in the rack-and-pinion railway can 
judge ; under such torrid conditions the climb 
was a feat of endurance of which we are to this 
day proud. At last, faint with thirst and ex- 
haustion, we fell over the crest, and staggering 
down the long street of St Beatenberg, collapsed 
into the basket-chairs of the hospitable Hotel 
Kleinschwein. " You have here English ginger 
beer ? " I inquired nervously. " Certainly, 
sir." My sister and I exchanged glances of 
delight. " Two bottles immediately." We 
were glad the girl took so long to fetch them, 
that we might gloat over the effervescent joy 
in prospect. The bottles came — they were un- 
corked — they fizzed — they foamed — we raised 
the glasses to our lips — we put them down 
again — the ginger beer was unsweetened ! 

The poignant disappointment of that moment 
lingers yet. On the whole continent of Europe, 


The Bernese Oberland 

English ginger beer can be obtained at only one 
spot, and there it is unsweetened. 

I have never allowed this painful experience 
*to embitter my memories of St Beatenberg, 
through which, in search of less exotic refresh- 
ment, we presently proceeded. It is simply 
a row of hotels and chalets about two and a half 
miles long, built on a broad shelf above the lake, 
in full view of all the monarchs of the Oberland. 
It is a paradise of birds and flowers, and seems 
perpetually bathed in sunshine. Its glories 
have been chanted enthusiastically by Canon 
Rawnsley, who stayed there during " flower- 
time " for a longer time perhaps than I should 
care to do. The isolation of this high ledge — 
its tedious elongation — would tire the patience 
of restless folk in a very few days ; but in winter 
the crisp cold stings all your limbs into move- 
ment and you ask for nothing better than these 
steep slopes and slippery paths. 

The country behind the Niesen, forming the 
western part of the Oberland, has been opened 
up to tourists only of comparatively recent 
years. It is not very long since the railway 
was extended along the Simmenthal, past 
Zweisimmen and Gessenay into the Gruyere 
valley and the Lake of Geneva. The valley of 
Adelboden is described in Murray's Guide for 
1891 as little frequented. Nowadays it is one 
3f the most popular winter resorts in Switzer- 




land. It owes its success to its sheltered situa- 
tion opposite the Wildstrubel and its exceptional 
amount of sunshine. Here it is quite possible 
to walk about in summer rig in the depth of 
winter, four thousand five hundred feet above 
the sea. The village lies in a valley opening 
off the Kanderthal, up which you go, past the 
resplendent Bliimlisalp, to the Gemmi Pass. 
This, Mr Coolidge has ascertained, is first 
spoken of in 1252 under the Romance name of 
** Curmilz " or " Curmyz." " As early as 1544 
we have a most thrilling account of Sebastian 
Miinster the geographer, of his traverse of the 
pass, and of the horrors of the bad path from 
Leukerbad to the pass. Later we read that by 
this bad track a horse could only carry half a 
proper load, while every cow on its way to the 
pastures required a man to itself." For these 
reasons the name was supposed in the dark ages 
of philology to be derived from the Latin word 
for groans. The pass yields in dreariness only 
to the Grimsel. The path constructed in the 
eighteenth century by Tyrolese labourers is one 
of the most remarkable in Switzerland. It is 
carved like a winding stair in the face of the 
rock, and may not be descended on horseback. 
Near the spot where Madame d'Arlincourt was 
killed, falling from a mule, in 1864, are the 
remains of a hut to which a hermit used to 
approach by swarming up a pole. 


The Bernese Oberland 

An hour and a half's descent from the summit 
of the pass brings you to that queer place, 
Leukerbad or Loueche-les-Bains, which is a 
long way off the town of Leuk in the Rhone 
valley. It is a very old spa which owes a good 
deal to Cardinal Schinner, the bishop of Sion. 
The baths, which are of the warm fiat-iron 
variety, are still a good deal frequented, and are 
conducted very much on the lines of those which 
Coryat and Montaigne saw at Baden in Aargau. 
You are admitted (if merely a spectator) to a 
gallery, and on looking down behold two or 
three dozen heads emerging from the water, 
on which are floating wooden tables bearing 
books, coffee, and refreshments of all sorts. 
These extraordinary beings are clad in thick 
woollen robes and mufflers, which give them the 
appearance of dancing dervishes, or dangerous 
lunatics. Upon your appearance, a collecting- 
box is reached up to you at the end of a pole, 
while the bathers howl, " Pour les pauvres." If 
you do not respond to this appeal, you will find 
water squirted over you with deadly force and 
precision by the dexterous bathers. They are 
of all sorts — fat, bald-headed fathers of families, 
nice young ladies, priests, officers, hale and 
hearty peasants, battered roues ; but they all 
seem to be enjoying themselves and to take very 
kindly to an aquatic existence. "It is not a 
little amusing," intelhgently remarks an eye- 



witness, " to see people sipping their breakfasts 
[possibly eating them, too ?] or reading up to 
their chins in water — in one corner a party at 
chess, in another an apparently interesting tete- 
a-tete ; while a solitary sitter may be seen re- 
viving in the hot water a nosegay of withered 
flowers. The temperature of the bath is pre- 
served by a constant supply of hot water, 
which the patients drink at times." 

The Lake of Brienz, on the other side of 
Interlaken, sombre in its setting of dark wooded 
mountains, is less picturesque than the 
Thunersee. If a thunderstorm is brewing, its 
neighbourhood infects one with a profound 
melancholy. But on a clear day it is a jaunt 
of unalloyed pleasure to the Giessbach falls — 
seven cascades leaping down in succession from 
the height of the mountain, over smooth green 
turfy terraces, overshadowed by a forest of firs. 
By night these falls are illuminated. The effect, 
though so artificially produced, is of magical 
beauty, almost equal to that of the noonday 

It was on the path leading from the water's 
edge that I first saw a marmot. He was begging 
for a blind man. He looked like a great fat 
rat, with his pathetic pleading eyes, his quiver- 
ing muzzle, and fierce whiskers. He begged 
most prettily with his fore-paws, and ate nuts 
as daintily as a squirrel. I thought him a most 


> i» > ) 4 4 It 

The Bernese Oberland 

lovable beast — as rodents usually are. Mar- 
mots are more often heard than seen in a wild 
state, and announce the approach of a human 
by a loud, shrill whistle. '^They live," says 
'Mr Howard V. Knox, "in colonies of varying 
numbers, but, in summer at least, each burrow 
is inhabited by a single family. Sometimes, but 
not always, the same burrow is used as a summer 
and a winter home. The change from summer 
to winter quarters, wherever it takes place, 
involves a descent to a lower level. The 
animals prepare for winter by carrying into their 
sleeping-room a quantity of dry grass, with 
which the floor is entirely covered, so as to 
provide a comfortable couch for the two or three 
families that usually club together at this season. 
About the middle of October the burrow is 
closed up from within by a closely packed wad, 
composed chiefly of hay, which, however, is 
ij placed not at the entrance of the burrow, but at 
a distance of one or two feet therefrom. In the 
snug home thus carefully prepared the whole 
party, numbering from five to fifteen individuals, 
sleep away the long winter months, unless they 
are dug out by some ruthless hunter." 

The ruthless hunter may be compared to the 
cads who dig foxes out of their earths and wash 
their children's faces with their blood. 

According to Victor Tissot, the marmots never 
stir out of their burrows till they have satisfied 



themselves that no danger is in sight. The 
command of the party is entrusted, as with the 
chamois, to an old female, and while the young 
ones frisk and crop the Alpine flowers, their 
elders keep watch. Mrs Margaret Vaughan, 
daughter of John Addington Symonds, captured 
a marmot alive after a brisk engagement, of 
which she gives a most spirited account. Having 
driven him into a ledge, she forced him to take 
refuge in a bag hastily improvised out of a 
petticoat and hairpins. Then at midday, 
8th July 1889, " two heated damsels were to be 
seen toiling along the Davos-Dorfli road, one 
bearing slung over her shoulder, a mysterious 
striped bag, the contents of which wriggled 
furiously and weighed twelve Swiss pounds." 

Brienz, at the east end of the lake, is the 
back door of the Oberland, and thence you 
ascend through Meiringen over the Brunig pass 
to Lucerne. Meiringen is beautifully situated 
and has been burnt down more often than any 
town in America. Whether the people cook 
their Christmas dinners in a general conflagra- 
tion, as the ancient Chinese roasted their pork, 
or whether the men smoke their pipes in bed, 
I do not know, but the place is the despair of 
the insurance companies. Yet close at hand 
there is a volume of water great enough to 
extinguish all the fires in Hades. The Aar cuts 
its way through a mountain, forming a defile, 


The Bernese Oberland 

I a mile and a quarter long. This gorge might 
.well be taken for the approach to the hell 
dreamed of by the envenomed Florentine. The 
walls of rock rise sheer up from the water, 
overarching here, receding there ; they bulge 
terrifically above your head as you clamber down 
the iron gallery clamped to their sides ; they 
retreat and advance, engulfing you in a great 
witches' cauldron, a cavern green and dark well 
suited to be a dragon's lair ; then far above you 
a ray of sunlight penetrates the chasm, and 
makes magic play with the damp white mist sent 
up from the torrent hissing and frothing far 

Near at hand there are other streams which 
tumble down into the valley over the grand 
Reichenbach falls. There is the Alpbach cas- 
cade, too, alike unable to save Meiringen from 
the burning. The valley behind is the Hasli- 
thal, leading to the Grimsel. It is inhabited by 
a hardy handsome race, whose fathers settled in 
the valley of the upper Rhone. The women are 
supposed to be prettier, or, as one author un- 
kindly puts it, " less plain " than the rest of 
their compatriots. For my part, I think in- 
justice is often done to the Swiss in this respect. 
There are plenty of pretty faces to be seen in 
Switzerland — among the shopgirls of Berne and 
Lucerne, for instance, and in the towns of the 
canton Ticino. In the St Gotthard express I 




have met at wide intervals two of the handsomest 
people I have ever seen — a federal officer going 
from Zurich to Andermatt, and a charming girl 
of sixteen or seventeen travelhng from Bellin- j 
zona to Zurich. But the peasantry of Switzer- 
land are undoubtedly as plain of face as of 
speech. They work too hard. They eat too 
little, and expose themselves too much. The 
women are old at thirty. They take no interest i 
in their appearance and have no reason to do so. i 
Marriages, as elsewhere on the Continent, are j 
affairs of convenience, and the ugliest girl stands 
as good a chance of a rich husband as does a 
pretty one. The cold airs and Calvinism have 
put out the fires of passion in Switzerland. No 
young Swiss would think of running off with his 
master's wife or daughter — if he ran away with 
anything, it would be with the cash-box. 


240 L 

•)•,•■> t > 

. .J. 

with I 
a pop 





The canton Glarus is one of the least frequented 
parts of Switzerland. Like Uri and Valais it is 
shut in on all sides but one by almost impassable 
mountains ; but unlike them, that one side is 
not formed by any famous lake or river. The only 
access to the canton is by a narrow opening 
where the Linth issues from the Lake of Wallen- 
stadt. Glarus consists of one large and beauti- 
ful valley, the Grossthal, rich in pasture-land, 
with the two tributary glens, the Klein thai and 
the Klon, burrowing right into the heart of the 
mountains on either hand. Here there dwells 
a population of over thirty thousand souls, who 
contentedly manufacture printed muslins and 
cheeses, while ecstatic visitors rhapsodise over the 
beauties of the scenery, and the lofty sentiments 
it must awaken in the dwellers in its midst. 

Wallenstadt, though less than ten miles in 
length, is one of the most beautiful of the Alpine 
lakes. It lies in the cradle of the mountains, 
seldom disturbed by the presence of the man 
from Cook's. Its dark green waters mirror the 
rocky masses that rise sheer up from its margin. 
But these clear, placid waters are treacherous 
and dangerous to navigate. Benvenuto Cellini 

Q 241 



has left us an account of his exciting passage 
across the lake from Wallenstadt to Weesen, in 
the course of a journey that he undertook with 
two apprentices from Rome to Paris. 

" When I saw the boats on the lake I was 
terrified," he naively owns, " because the said 
boats are of fir wood, not very large and not 
very substantial, and are not closely fitted to- 
gether nor even pitched ; and if I had not seen 
four German noblemen with their four horses 
embarking in a similar one, I would never have 
embarked in mine ; rather would I much sooner 
have turned back again : but I thought to my- 
self according to the folly I saw them committing, 
that these German waters would not drown folks 
as do ours in Italy ! Those two young men of 
mine, however, said to me, ' Benvenuto ! It is 
a dangerous thing to embark along with four 
horses/ And I replied to them : ' Don't you 
notice, cowards, that those four noblemen have 
embarked before us, and are going on their way 
laughing ? If this were wine as it actually is 
water, I would say that they were going cheer- 
fully to drown therein ' ; . . . This lake was 
fifteen miles in length and about three in width ; 
on the one side was a very high and cavernous 
mountain, on the other it was flat and grassy, i 
When we had gone about four miles on it the 
said lake began to be stormy, so that those men 
who were rowing begged us that we would help 


Canton Glarus 

them to row ; so we did for a while. I made 
signs to them that they should run us to that 
shore opposite ; they said that it was not 
possible for there was not sufficient water there 
to float the boat, and that there are certain 
shallows upon which the boat would immediately 
go to pieces and we should all drown. . . . When 
I saw them thus dismayed, having an intelligent 
horse, I arranged the bridle upon his neck and 
took one end of the halter in my left hand. The 
horse . . . seemed to perceive what I wanted to 
do, for, turning his head towards the fresh grass, 
I wanted him swimming to draw me also with 
him. At this moment there arose so great a 
wave from the lake that it broke over the boat. 
Ascanio, crying out, ' Mercy, my father, help 
me,' turned to throw himself upon me ; where- 
fore I clapped my hand to my dagger, and told 
them to do as I would show them, for the horses 
would save their own lives so surely that I hoped 
I should also escape by that means ; but that if 
he threw himself upon me I would kill him. . . . 
Midway down the lake we found a little track of 
level ground where we could rest, and upon the 
level ground I saw disembarked those four 
German noblemen. The boatmen would not 
allow us to disembark so I said to my young 
men, ' Now is the time to make some proof of 
our quality ; therefore draw your swords and 
compel him to set us on shore.' This we did 



with great difficulty. But when we were landed 
we must climb two miles up that mountain, 
more difficult to scale than a ladder. I was 
fully armed in a coat of mail, with big boots and 
a fowling piece in my hand, and it was raining, 
as God alone knows how to send it. Those 
devils of German noblemen, with their little 
hand-led nags, performed miracles, but our 
horses were not up to this business." 

One slipped on the precipitous path, and falling 
down the mountain side was killed ; the other, slip- 
ping, wounded itself on the point of a lance. Had 
not the German noblemen taken pity on them and 
sent them help, poor Benvenuto and his friends 
would indeed have been in a sad plight. At 
length, however, they got food and shelter ; the 
wounded horse was tended, and Cellini continued 
his journey into France singing and laughing 
with his apprentices, and in a strange interval of 
piety, thanking God for his escape. 

But voyagers on the lake have not always been 
equally fortunate. They will still tell you at 
Wallenstadt, in tones of horror, of the boat, laden 
with wine and salt, which went down in a sudden 
storm in 1574, when fifty good merchants of 
Grisons were drowned. 

To the geologists the mountains round the Lake 

of Wallenstadt are a paradise of wonder. They 

are characterised by extraordinary " folds," 

where the natural strata of the rocks lie crushed 


Canton Glarus 

and broken beneath inverted strata, in which 
the older rock formations He next the surface and 
the newer ones are deeply buried. It is as if some 
giant had seized the ancient mountains and in his 
anger crumpled up their summits and ground 
them deeply into the foundations. But to my 
layman's eye the mountains are but mountains, 
and though Wallenstadt is beautiful, the whole 
of the canton is before me. 

Leaving Weesen, the railway passes through 
a rocky gorge into the great central valley of 
Glarus. On the rights Glarnisch rears its snowy 
head, glittering in the clear air and sunshine, the 
most impressive peak in the whole canton. Its 
summit is well worth a visit on account of the 
huge glacier that unrolls in plains of ice between 
the rugged crags and overflows on to the smoother 
surfaces below. Round the lower slopes cluster 
great masses of beech-trees with their pink 
sheaths and leaves of delicate green, until, as they 
push farther up the mountain, they lose them- 
selves in the shadows of the conifers. 

Glarnisch has a sinister reputation for its 
avalanches, which thunder down a sheer 5000 
feet, bringing destruction in their train, in a veil 
of blinding snow. And less remarked though 
scarcely less wonderful are the " snow-flags " 
encountered on this and the surrounding sum- 
mits. Often when no breath of air is stirring in 
the valley the wind on the mountains lifts up a 



Switzerland | 

great column of snow and whirls it up into the 
air in great spirals. Sometimes the snow dis- 
appears into the clouds, sometimes it spreads 
out like a pall of smoke, sometimes it shoots 
about like frozen flames, but always it is a 
beautiful and weird phenomenon. 

Nafels is the first village at which we make 
a halt. There is a fine old manor-house here '^"^f 
built in the florid Renaissance style, and trea- ^^^ 
sured by the natives as a masterpiece. But the "^ 
interest of the spot is almost entirely historical, 
for Nafels played a part in the growth of Glarus 
similar to that of Morgarten in Schwyz. 

The name of Glarus is derived by Murray 
from St Hilary of Poitiers, the protector of 
Fridolin, who converted the district to Chris- ^ % 
tianity. To trace the process of derivation will ^' 
occupy many a tedious railway journey. This, ^^^^ 
like so many of the Swiss cantons, was originally j "' 
dependent on a religious foundation — the Bene 
dictine nunnery of Sackingen, on the Rhine. | 
But Austria, the bogey of Mediaeval Europe, I ^¥ 
early acquired proprietary rights. In 1352, ^^^^ 
Glarus entered the Swiss confederation, and in ; W 
1380 Austria determined to strike a final blow ' '™ 
for her vanishing supremacy. Treachery de- Ft 
livered Weesen into her hands, and from this Aust 
point of vantage, 6000 Austrian troops were soutl 
thrown into the canton. At Nafels they made ^lin 
their attack. Glarus was cut off from her allies. . itlit 


on t 




Canton Glarus 

But a band of 600 grimly determined men 
held the surrounding heights. The Austrians, 
to whom defeat had taught no wisdom, brought 
their cavalry into the valley, only to be crushed 
beneath a well-directed volley of stones and 
boulders showered down at them by their in- 
accessible foes. Austria now judged it wise to 
temporise, and in the following year agreed to 
give up all pretensions to her ancient feudal 
rights in return for a sum of money paid down 
on the nail. The memory of this victory is 
marked by an obelisk opposite the church and 
eleven stones, placed at intervals through the 
village. In the churchyard of Mollis, the twin 
village of Nafels across the river, are buried the 
fifty-four heroes who fell in the great victory. 

Past Netstall, that clings for support to the 
overhanging crags of the Wiggis ; past the gorge 
of the terrible Lontsch, which at times leaves 
its channel and tears over the countryside with 
vindictive fury, and you come to Glarus, the 
capital of the canton. You notice with surprise 
that the little town is new and modern, and if 
you inquire the reason you will hear a tale of 
terrible disaster. 

For an enemy more to be dreaded than the 
Austrians or French is the " fohn," the terrible 
south-west wind that sweeps at times through 
the valley. One day in May, just fifty years ago, 

it Ht a fire in Glarus, which presently consumed 





five hundred houses and property to the value of 
three hundred thousand pounds. The mountain 
snows glowed with the reflection of this roaring 
sea of fire, and the dreadful crimson alpengUch was 
visible as far away as the Black Forest. But help 
and supplies were not denied to Glarus in this 
terrible hour. The cantons, French and German, 
remembered their fraternal duties, the federal 
device, " All for one, one for all," which, as an 
English lady remarked with commendable 
moderation, was " very nice " of them. 

The conflagration made a clean sweep of the 
historical monuments of the town, among which 
may be counted the church wherein Ulrich 
Zwingli first celebrated mass. The chalice used 
on that solemn occasion is preserved in the new 
church. But the sole interest of this cantonal 
capital for strangers lies in its situation at the 
foot of the Vorder Glarnisch, a peak of beautiful 
shape, resembling at a distance a fountain turned 
to ice. Opposite rises the Wiggis ; in another 
direction the appropriately named Schild cleaves 
the sky. 

Amid such sublime scenes, the people of the 
little town flock to the factory and regulate their 
lives by the horn and the hooter, much like 
Lancashire folk. We hear the usual groans that 
divorce among them is frequent, that wives are 
fond of gaiety, and homes neglected. In all 
probability they are all much the better for 


> > « 
■» « 1 > 

JO > » 

■> » J ' > 

\ \^> 

Canton Glarus 

mingling even a scant measure of pleasure and 
passion with their sordid lives. Their lot is 
certainly better than that of the peasant who 
will deny himself, his wretched wife, and his 
children, food, sleep, rest, and recreation rather 
than lose a minute from grubbing up potatoes 
and feeding swine. 

When the gramophone and the electric theatre 
cease for a moment to charm the industrious 
townsfolk of Glarus, they make holiday in the 
Klonthal, a romantic valley to the north of the 
Glarnisch. We seem here to penetrate into the 
land where it is always afternoon. No wind 
stirs the leaves, not a blade of grass trembles, 
there is never a ripple on the surface of the dark 
green lake. Far down into its abysses seems to 
penetrate the mighty mountain, mirrored to- 
gether with the heavens above it in these clear 
depths. Here Alps and sun are never tired of 
contemplating the reflection of their own beauty. 
Nature never devised a more beautiful looking- 
glass than this little lake in the heart of Glarus. 
Suvorov, by the way, is said to have sunk his 
war chest in it when routed by the French. 
You drink a glass of milk to the genius of the 
place, and press up the valley. It is on fine days 
pretty well thronged with people on an outing 
from Glarus and with mountaineers about to 
attempt the not very difficult ascent of the 
Glarnisch. In winter the valley is deserted 



except on Sundays, when the frozen surface of 
the lake draws skaters by the hundred. The 
ice is of unusual purity, and so clear that a 
newspaper can be read through a slab a foot 
thick. Its exportation has become an important 
industry. " Strange and picturesque and com- 
parable only to the hurry and scurry of an ant's 
nest, is the scene presented " — says one who has 
witnessed it — " when hundreds of men with 
saws, picks, poles, ladders, sledges, and horses, 
are busily employed on the slippery surface of 
the ice in the midst of this lonely snowed-up 
Alpine valley, the thermometer registering 15 
to 25 degrees below freezing-point, so that the 
workmen's bread freezes hard in their pockets 
and the wine in their bottles is turned into a 
cylinder of ice. Then there is the business of 
transporting the ice. In good winters from two 
to three hundred waggons are employed daily 
in conveying the blocks of ice into the valley. 
The traffic is so regulated that twice a day all 
the vehicles go in single file from Netstall and 
Glarus to the lake, and return in the like order 
unbroken. Thus in the space of one hour you 
see the entire caravan of three hundred ice- 
laden waggons drawn by horses, cows, or mules, 
pass by in a seemingly interminable procession." 
From Glarus the railway runs up the valley 
of the Linth to Stachelberg, a pretty watering- 
place at the foot of the great mountain mass of 


Canton Glarus 

I the Todi. Thence you may travel by a bridle- 
path over the Klausen Pass into Uri. The 

I boundary lies a considerable distance short of 
the summit of the pass, and for this reason. 
In the autumn of 1092, the two cantons (as we 
now call them) fell out over the matter of the 
frontier. It was finally agreed that two men 
should start running at cock-crow from Linthal 
and Altdorf towards the pass and that the point 

"' of their meeting should be the boundary. Each 
side strove to gain the advantage over the other 
by getting its bird to crow first. The Glarus 
bird was overfed^ and showed no signs of waking 
though the sun had risen. At last, long after 
the Uri man had started, he opened one eye, 
lazily flapped his wings, and crowed languidly. 
The Glarus runner was off like a shot, seeking by 
frantic spurts to make up for the delay of the 
drowsy bird. Half way down the Frittneralp, 
he met his competitor. The Uri man was, how- 
ever, a true sportsman, and consented to allow 
the loser another chance. He would yield as 
much of the distance he had covered as the 
other man could carry him. With a mighty 
effort the runner from Linthal bore his rival up 
the mountain as far as the Scheidbach. There 
he fell dead, and there the boundary remains to 
this day. " Although the issue was so tragic," 
caustically remarks a Liberal of Glarus, " it has 
not been without advantage, for since that time 



our people have learned to set their watch at 
least half a century in advance of that of their 
fellow-countrymen at Altdorf." 

Three and a half miles above Glarus, at the 
little town of Schwanden, the river Semft falls 
into the Linth. It waters the idyllic Kleinthal. 

Having once penetrated into this glen, the 
traveller feels himself as much cut off from the 
outer world as in the happy valley of Prince 
Rasselas. There is little communication with 
the rest of the canton, for the lower part of the 
valley is narrow and tortuous, with a rise of 
850 feet in less than three miles, and a sudden 
bend that hides the approach as completely as 
the vanishing door in the fairy story. Beyond 
the circle of brooding mountains lies the world 
of steamships and hotels, but in this narrow 
strip of green pasture-land men move placidly 
about their business, often the prey of a pitiless 
nature. Enthroned above the solitude the eagles 
build their nests. 

They cling firmly to their old beliefs and 
superstitions, these lonely mountain folk. 
They have an interesting demonology of their 
own. Above the village of Matt is the Heiden- 
loch, a stalactite cavern six feet high. Here the 
dwarfs buried their treasures in an iron chest, 
and a black dog keeps guard over them day and 
night. It is said that in former days a white 
sheep was driven once every year into the cave, 



Canton Glarus 

and used to emerge some two miles farther off 
with a fleece of deepest red. What fiery ordeal 
the poor beast had gone through, the legend- 
mongers will only hint at. The subterranean 
passage which undoubtedly exists is also said 
to have been used as a refuge by Christians in 
the days of their persecution, though we are 
told of no miraculous transformation of their 
complexions. Until the last few years a curious 
custom was still kept up. On the Monday before 
Ash Wednesday, the young men would go with 
torches to the Weissenberge. A fire was lighted, 
and small circular pieces of wood with sharpened 
edges made glowing in the flames. Then with 
rhymes, that seem to be a relic of some old 
litany to the sun-god, they would hurl their 
missiles, like falling stars, into the air to drop 
into the valley below. 

But the Kleinthal has by no means escaped 
the touch of a steam-driven civilisation. For- 
merly the inhabitants used to swarm in summer 
over the neighbouring districts, picking up the 
most casual livelihood and making themselves 
a nuisance. But to-day tall factory chimneys 
stretch up from amongst broad-spreading maple- 
trees and glowing clusters of alpenroses. From 
the bowels of the mountains comes the hollow 
clang of picks and hammers, indicating, not 
some Vulcan's forge, but the presence of valuable 
slate quarries. 




To these quarries the Httle town of Elm, lying 
at the upper extremity of the valley, owes a 
melancholy notoriety. It has always suffered 
from floods and avalanches, but before 1881 it 
was to outward appearance a model of Arcadian 
happiness. In September of that year a sudden 
shower of rattling stones warned the inhabitants 
that something was amiss. In great haste they 
began to move their cattle and household goods. 
Another deafening volley crashed down upon 
them, and then the whole face of the rocky 
Tschingel, undermined by quarrying, fell in. 
As though struck by an earthquake, the mountain 
gaped asunder. Huge boulders split off and 
came crashing down, enveloped in a dense cloud 
of rocky debris, with an occasional flash of fire. 
Ten times more terrible than an avalanche the 
stream of solid masonry swept on, filling up the 
narrow valley, grinding to powder everything 
that opposed its progress. The bed of the river 
was instantly choked up and the rising waters 
threatened to engulf whatever of the village the 
falling mountain had spared. Herds of cattle 
were extirpated; a hundred and fifteen people lost 
their lives and eight more were only saved by a 
whirlwind that lifted them up bodily and carried 
them to a place of safety. An enormous sum 
of money was at once subscribed for the benefit 
of the survivors ; but the little village still lies 
half in ruins beneath a mass of rock and rubbish. 

254 -, 

Canton Glarus 

Above Elm, and overlooking the rushing 
itorrent of the Sernft with its magnificent water- 
ffall, rises the rugged mass of the Sardona, 
crowned with its glittering ice-fields. The 
Tschingelhorner grins fantastically with its 
savage rocky teeth, known locally as the Twelve 
Apostles. Near the summit is an extraordinary 
fissure that penetrates the mountain to the 
Grisons side, known at the Martinsloch. Its 
breadth is 46 feet, its height 72 feet on the 
Glarus side, falling to 49 feet in Grisons, and 
twice a year the sunshine streams through on 
to the church tower of Elm. Farther to the 
south, great mountain masses sweep round the 
■ Kleinthal valley, piling up crest above furrowed 
crest, until they culminate in the snowy majesty 
of the graceful but gigantic Hausstoch with its 
fine summit lost in wreaths of cloud. 



All Switzerland is not Alpine nor even mountain- 
ous. The five cantons extending along the left 
or south bank of the Rhine from the Bodensee to 
Bale belong to the plain, and with them might 
be included parts of Soleure and St Gall. They 
contain a third of the whole population of 
Switzerland, and Bale and Zurich, its most 
populous towns. Here the wealth and industry 
of the country are concentrated. The whole 
territory is German in race and language, and 
accounts for the predominance of the Teutonic 
element in the confederation. 

The race problem in Switzerland has been 
investigated by able native writers, and lately 
by M. Albert Dauzat, who states his conclusion 
in his book, " La Suisse moderne." He speaks 
of the rapid Germanisation of the Bernese Jura, 
and estimates the immigration of German Swiss 
into the French-speaking cantons at one hundred 
thousand persons. Against these can be set 
only fifty thousand French Swiss settled in the 
German or Italian cantons. In the canton 
Neuchatel are whole German-speaking colonies 
of recent growth. The birth-rate, too, among 
the Teutons is very much higher than among 


tt •••« *• 

» » t 3 ■» 

• » ^ • :• 

« • 4 

• « B 

• • • 





The Lowlands of Switzerland 

their Latin neighbours. On the other hand, the 
French, resisting assimilation themselves, tend 
to assimilate and to absorb these alien colonies. 
As in Belgium — that other battle-ground of 
tongues — the educated classes, whether of Latin 
or Teutonic origin, prefer to speak French — a 

I tendency encouraged of course by the influx of 
tourists and the very necessities of the hotel- 
keeping business. A movement to write the 
hotel menus in German, by the way, broke down 
because only three foreigners out of ten could 
understand them. At Neuchatel, according to 

|: M. Dauzat, the deliberations of a German Swiss 
society called the Griitli have now to be con- 
ducted in French ; the same paradox may be 
noticed at Lausanne. In the German towns 
near the linguistic frontier, or of mixed race, 
such as Fribourg, Sion, and Sierre, French is the 
language of good society. In all parts of the 

j; country we foreigners expect officials and hotel 
proprietors to speak French, and reserve our 
German for the peasantry and the chamber- 

Ij: maids. I have noticed that German railway- 

I' men like to be addressed in French, whereas in 
the French cantons no one is proud of speaking 
German. The extension of the railway system 
has an important bearing on the language 
question. While the lines running into the Jura 
from Bale and Berne have accelerated the Ger- 
manisation of the region, the prolongation and 
R 257 


increased importance of the Simplon line has 
recovered a great deal of ground for the French. 
The language of Moliere seems then likely to 
hold its own, even though the French race may 
lose something of its purity ; but on the other 
side, German is fast extinguishing the Romansch 
in the Orisons and is now heard in the remotest 
valleys of that outpost of the Latin race. 

" Switzerland a German province ! " was the 
toast audaciously proposed by a Bernese pro- 
fessor some years ago. But the cry roused a 
tempest of indignation throughout the con- 
federation, nowhere else more violent than in the 
German cantons. " We cling to our language," 
instantly responded another professor, " but we 
are Switzers all ; and we German Swiss have 
not much to learn in things German from the 
Prussians ! " It is the new Italy and the new 
Prussianised Germany of which the confedera- 
tion stands most in fear. From the west and 
the east no danger threatens ; but the days are 
long past since the Swiss sentinels along the 
Rhine fraternised with the easy-going, pictur- 
esquely dressed soldiers of Baden and Wurtem- 
berg, leaning lazily on their old-fashioned arms 
at the opposite end of the bridges. Those soldiers 
are now alert and aggressive, drilled and uni- 
formed like Prussians, commanded from Berlin. 
The watch on the Rhine is now strictly kept on 
both sides. While southern Germany perhaps 


The Lowlands of Switzerland 

reluctantly conforms to the Prussian model, the 
republic cherishes the old German traditions. 

" Nowhere," remarks M. Dauzat, " is the 
contrast between the two banks more striking 
than at Rheinfelden. The coquettish little 
Aargau town, whose waters draw numerous 
visitors, has been modernised as regards its new 
quarters, without any injury to its past, without 
touching the picturesque old streets, with their 
pointed gables, or the ancient houses massed 
in artistic disorder on the banks of the Rhine. 
But on the other side, all is in the hideous 
Prussian ' modern-style ' — heavy buildings, 
loud and crude, in freestone. The ostentatious 
display of the parvenu ' good old Germany ' 
has not only become the prey of militarism but 
also of bad taste. The ancient wooden covered 
bridge, with its exquisite savour of Mediaeval 
archaeology, which spans the Rhine, resting 
half way upon an islet, has been studiously 
preserved on the Swiss side — German vandalism 
has destroyed the other half and replaced it by 
an iron bridge ; no doubt a triumph of en- 
gineering but the most discordant combination 
it is possible to conceive. But the Badeners 
are proud of their new bridge and deride the poor 
backward Swiss and their devotion to such old- 
fashioned lumber. This bridge is a symbol. 
The worst of it is that German taste has in more 
than one place succeeded in crossing the Rhine." 



It has done so, for instance, at the ancient 
town of Bale, and broken down behind it the 
dehghtful old bridge, at the end of which the 
Lallenkonig from a window in a tower for many 
centuries rolled his eyes and put out his tongue 
at the burghers of Little Bale opposite. The 
grotesque manikin has been banished to the 
museum, and since the annexation of Alsace the 
city has bows and smiles for the German border. 
It was never much visited by travellers — of the 
uncommercial variety — and has less now than 
ever to detain them. We all have recollections 
of its buffet, of hurried meals between trains, or 
of long, dreary waits in the dim morning light in 
its vast waiting-rooms. I confess that my im- 
pressions of the city have been gained in a suc- 
cession of such intervals in all seasons and at aU 
hours of the day. I never found much to inter- 
est me there, and am not astonished to hear that 
the town is the headquarters of Continental 
Methodism and the home of many wealthy 
burghers. It contains more millionaires (in 
francs) , I am told, than any other Swiss city ; 
and these affluent persons do not wish, like the 
Orientals, to make any secret of their wealth. 
Tall modern houses, such as one may see at 
Frankfort and Cologne, rise up, gaunt and 
glaring, in quaint mediaeval streets. The ancient 
Rathaus has been furbished up, and is now a blaze j j^j I 
of red and gold — though it is but fair to the 



The Lowlands of Switzerland 

Balers to add that this is in accordance with 
the original mediaeval design. " Hie frigent 

; artes," sighed Erasmus ; and Holbein left its 
phiUstine atmosphere for the Court of England. 
The hand of the German restorer has been busy 
with the roof of the grand old red cathedral, rising 

: so much like Strassburg, from a cliff above the 
Rhine. The Vandals have respected the chapter- 
house where sat the famous council which created 
a schism in the Catholic Church and hindered the 
union with the Eastern Church. There is not 
much else worth seeing in Bale, except the 
portrait of Holbein by himself and the " Dance 
of Death," wrongly attributed to him. Bale is a 
comfortable, thriving provincial town, with not 
much animation, and decidedly more German 
than Swiss. 

Zurich, most populous of Swiss cities, seated 
within sight of the mountains beside its wide 
haze-bound lake, is more modem and go-ahead 
than Bale, and yet clings more loyally to national 
traditions. It exults, like Munich, in its hearty 
jovial German spirit, exulting in its glorious 
past while zestfully providing for the future. 
It rejoices in festivals which keep alive old 
memories, and loves to see long trains of boys 
and girls in old-world garb winding down its 

I magnificent modern streets. The new bottles 
of Zurich have stood the old wine very well. 
There is plenty for the tourist to see here, apart 



from the luxurious shops and palace-Uke hotels. 
The National Museum is one of the most fascinat- 
ing institutions of the kind in the whole world, 
deserving to rank with the Cluny at Paris and 
the Ottoman Museum at Constantinople. Its 
collections of old Swiss furniture, costumes, and 
war trophies in their fine mediaeval interiors, 
make one long for a similar national museum in 
England, where only the products of Egypt, 
Assyria, Greece, and Italy are deemed worthy 
of preservation at the public expense. iVn old 
banner taken at Crecy or the battered forecastle 
of one of Drake's ships ought to thrill us more 
than even the most dignified mummy or the 
blandest of man-bulls. Zurich is full of life and 
very proud of itself. " See," it says to its 
children, " what a past we Swiss have had ; go 
out to our factories and engine shops and see 
what we are doing now. Are you not proud to 
be Zurichers ? " The prosperous city emulates 
Florence and Venice in its encouragement of 
arts and letters. The Zuricher sticks out his 
chest and refers to his city as Athens by the 
Limmat. The boast has some justification. 
The city counts half the men of letters of 
Switzerland among her children. There are two 
universities — that of the canton, to which were 
welcomed, in the thirties and forties, Strauss 
and many professors of light and leading ex- 
pelled by reactionary Germany ; and the federal 


• • J • • • 1 

' . -• • . , . 

» . » 

' • • • • « ■ 

»» • t « . * • 

J • , • • • I 


The Lowlands of Switzerland 

polytechnic, the nucleus of a national university. 
Russians and Poles abound in the classes and in 
the city. They are hardly as safe or welcome 
on Swiss soil as formerly. The Swiss have grown 
suspicious of political refugees, at least since 
the cruel and purposeless assassination of the 
Empress Elizabeth in the territory of Geneva. 
Just as the murderer avenged on this inoffensive 
woman the crimes of her order, so the Swiss in 
their panic are now disposed to make high- 
minded political exiles, the victims of brutish 
tyranny, suffer for the guilt of an isolated 
Italian workman. Unfortunately these panics 
are not confined to Switzerland, where it is even 
less easy than elsewhere to raise the " alien " 
scare. But when Tatiana Leontiev shot a 
Parisian tourist in mistake for some wretched 
Russian bureaucrat, the commercial instincts of 
the Switzers were aroused. A few more mis- 
takes of this kind and foreign tourists might 
boycott the country. Tatiana herself got off 
with four years' imprisonment ; but the alarm 
her blunder had excited was glaringly illustrated 
by the disgraceful and utterly illegal surrender 
of the refugee, Vasiliev, to the Russian authorities 
in the following year. I can hardly blame a 
Polish medical man whom I met at Berne for 
refusing to discuss the affairs of his nation while 
within the longest earshot of a third party. 
The country between Berne and Zurich and 



the Rhine — the fertile lowlands of Switzerland — 
is left very much to itself by foreigners. It is a 
pleasant region of thickly wooded hills, some of 
which might be called mountains elsewhere, wide 
plains, and quaint old-world towns, recalling 
pre-confederation days. Over the town gate 
of Sursee the double eagle of the Empire still 
outspreads its talons. Not far off are the battle- 
field of Sempach, watered with the blood of 
Arnold, and the fine old abbey of Beromiinster, 
where a book was first printed in Switzerland, 
The foundation commemorates the piety of 
the old counts of Lenzburg, whose castle, re- 
stored by its American owner, is seen by the 
railway traveller from Aargau to Lucerne. The 
line of Lenzburg became extinct in 1173. Their 
lands passed to the house of Kiburg, and their 
lordship over this part of the Aargau went to the 
Hapsburgs, who had already built the castle 
bearing their name on a cliff above the Aar 
near the ancient town of Brugg. Not much 
more than the keep remains of this cradle of the 
mighty Imperial race, which owes so much more 
to the marriage contract than to the sword. 
The castle is more romantic in its site than in its 
associations, and overlooks the blood-stained 
field of Konigsfelden. There stands the 
nunnery of Poor Clares founded by the Empress 
Elizabeth and Agnes, Queen of Hungary, in 
13 10 on the spot where their husband and 


The Lowlands of Switzerland 

father, the Emperor Albert, was assassinated two 
years before. " Accordmg to tradition," says 
Murray, " the high altar stands on the spot 
where Albert fell. He had crossed the ferry 
of the Reuss in a small boat, leaving his suite 
on the opposite bank. He was attended only 
by the four conspirators. The chief of them, 
John (later surnamed Parricida), his nephew — 
who had been instigated to slay him by the 
wrong he had endured in being kept out of his 
paternal inheritance by his uncle — first struck 
him in the throat with his lance. Balm ran him 
through with his sword, and Walter von Eschen- 
bach cleft his skull with a felling stroke. Rudolf 
von Wart, the fourth, took no share in the 
murder. Although the deed was so openly done, 
in broad daylight, almost under the walls of the 
castle of Hapsburg, and in sight of a large retinue 
of armed attendants, the murderers were able 
to escape in different directions ; and the re- 
tainers took to flight, leaving their dying master 
to breathe his last in the arms of a poor peas- 
ant who happened to pass. The assassins all 
escaped. A dire vengeance was wreaked by the 
wife and sons of the murdered monarch on their 
families, relations, and friends ; and a thousand 
victims are believed to have expiated with their 
lives a crime of which they were totally in- 
nocent. Queen Agnes died in the convent, 
but her body/'jWas conveyed to Austria in the 



eighteenth century. Here too were buried many 
of the nobles who fell at Sempach. The nunnery 
was suppressed at the Reformation and is now 
a lunatic asylum." 

The Swiss lowlands are rich in castles and 
historic sites. Overlooking Frauenfeld, the chief 
town of Thurgau, is the castle of the counts of 
Kiburg who inherited the lands of the Lenzburgs 
and in turn passed them on to the Hapsburgs in 
1264. There is another stronghold of the same 
house near Winterthur, restored in good taste, 
the interior very much what it must have been 
when Rudolf of Hapsburg resided here. Arenen- 
berg, on the Untersee — a chateau, not a castle — 
was the retreat of Queen Hortense and the 
asylum of her son, Louis Napoleon. Louis 
Philip demanded the Prince's expulsion. The 
Swiss, with a courage they have not always dis- 
played since, prepared to fight rather than 
violate the laws of hospitality ; whereon the 
generous Prince left the country rather than 
bring disaster on his hosts. Three or four 
miles away is the castle of Gottlieben, a good 
deal modernised and distinguished by its two 
high-peaked towers. This was the prison of 
John Huss and Jerome of Prague, and thence, 
in defiance of the safe-conduct granted them 
by the Emperor Sigmund, they were taken to 
their death by fire on a piece of waste ground 

outside Constanz. 



The Lowlands of Switzerland 

The great lake of these parts, the Bodensee, 
which washes the shores of Switzerland, Austria, 
and the three south German states, seems tame 
•and colourless to the tourist fresh from the 
forest cantons or the Oberland. He lingers by 
its fertile^ smiling shores, perhaps, on his way 
from quaint Schaffhausen (the town of onions) 
and the neighbouring Rhine falls, to the remote 
highlands of Appenzell, which every writer on 
Switzerland strives to popularise. This is a 
country, we are assured, of rare and primitive 
simplicity ; and as such should be extremely 
uninteresting. The simplicity of which these 
writers speak means a hide-bound conformity 
to anciently established customs, beliefs, and 
modes of thought. It means an archaic arti- 
ficiality. The native costumes, which are shock- 
ingly hideous, are simply the fashions more or 
less general in this part of the world two 
centuries ago. As an instance of the simplicity 
of these rustics, one writer comments on the 
fewness of illegitimate births among them ; 
which means, if it means anything at all, that 
their morality is based entirely upon civil and 
religious ordinances — the mark of a highly- 
sophisticated people. Dancing is regulated and 
limited by elaborate restrictions, which is just 
as well, as it here consists in gyrations rather less 
graceful than a drunken bear's. Social inter- 
course is confined to the taverns, and is varied 




only by drinking and card-playing. " The 
family circle when left to itself," says an Ameri- 
can admirer of this primitive people, '^ is apt to 
be a place of much solemnity. It is marked by 
silence broken at irregular intervals by com- 
fortable ejaculations oi ja I ja ! or so-o ! " 

I understand that people are sent to this 
Early Victorian canton for the whey-cure, what- 
ever that may be. It is also recommended for 
sufferers from the simple-life craze. Perhaps 
one of these days it will be generally realised that 
savages, rustics. Early Victorians, and puritans 
depart very much farther from nature than the 
emancipated woman and the gay Parisian, who 
are often pointed to with horror. People who 
crush out all the instincts of human nature, 
good and bad, and live by rule, may be excellent 
and altogether admirable ; but they are leading 
not the simple but the artificial life. 


' * c c c c 

* c <^ ' ' C « f " f , *^ « c c , c ^ / 



Puritanism, entrenched in Catholic Appenzell, 
has lost its hold on its ancient bulwark, Geneva. 
That one-time school for saints possesses the 
fatal gift of beauty (or rather her surroundings 
do), and, like the " ruined " damsels of melo- 
drama, now goes clad in purple and fine linen. 
The example of Voltaire or Rousseau or the 
French Revolution may be set down perhaps 
as the immediate cause of her backsliding ; but 
her corruption was inevitable the moment that 
the world awoke to a consciousness of the glory 
of her mountains and the charm of her lake. 

Yet Geneva, like the betrayed maiden of the 
tragedy, still affects to sigh for the respectability 
of her upbringing and has yielded somewhat 
grudgingly to the wiles of the seducer. When, 
as too often happens, the mist has hidden Mont 
Blanc, and the Saleve frowns as gaunt and sour 
as Calvin's self, you may find Geneva in her 
chastened mood in the high town — the old town 
— where the houses are dark, tall, and ruinous, 
their chambers airless and vault-like. Here 
dwelt Knox's saints, and here still dwell their 
descendants, the burgher aristocracy. The 
Ville-hautains, the people of the lower town 



call them, not unfairly. The quarter strikes a 
chill into the visitor. The shadow of Calvin ■ 
still darkens its narrow streets and weighs heavy 
on the cathedral of St Pierre. The amenities of 
the high town, as Edouard Rod truly remarks, : 
consist in the fine views obtainable from some 
of the mansions, as also from the Promenade de : 
la Treille, across the lake, or of the Jura. [ 

From this famous terrace old Geneva looks ^ 
down disapprovingly on its new self. Below, on ■ 
the obviously-named Place Neuve, rides the ' 
marble effigy of General Dufour, the soldier who • 
felled the Sonderbund, and, with it, old Switzer- 
land. He looks towards the municipal theatre, \ 
very much resembling the Opera House of Paris, ■; 
The municipal theatre of Geneva ! Even Rous- ' 
seau told Voltaire that he could not love him, • 
since he had corrupted his native city with ' 
spectacles. And, shameful to relate ! the school '■ 
for saints has done very well by its theatre. It • 
attracts visitors from all parts of Switzerland, ' 
even from Lucerne and Zurich, and I once found f 
my hotel crowded with such enthusiastic play- ' 
goers. The theatre is open on Sundays. 

One wonders, too, what Calvin would have ' 
said had be caught the frivolous airs proceeding 
from the adjacent conservatoire of music ; he • 
would have been less profoundly shocked, I ' 
wager, by the scenes which have procured the 
Palais Electoral, close by, the name Boite aux ' 


The Protestant Rome 

Gifles. All this is very modern, but not more 
po nor more worldly than the pretty Jardin 
Anglais, where the blue Rhone issues from the 
ilake, and the opposite quarter of the city with 
its glaring hotels and crowded quays. 

Those who come here, as all sensible people 
io, in spring and summer, see only the un- 
regenerate or degenerate Geneva ; no contrast 
oetween past and present is apparent to them. 
But in the depth of winter, the city takes on a 
hmereal garment under which Knox himself 
night recognise it. Nothing can be more 
nelancholy than the straight streets of the new 
:own or the " wynds " of the old, pallid and 
dlent in the pitiless, stealthy snow. You come 
)ut upon the lake shore, and recoil as if you 
lad reached the strand of the Polar sea. You 
escape into a side street and are dogged by 
looded cloaked figures, each one of whom might 
)e the ghost of Calvin. It is a relief to turn to 
;he Pont du Mont Blanc, where the seagulls 
.cream and chatter, disputing desperately with 
iach other for the morsels of bread you may 
;hrow them. Heavens, how cold it is ! The 
sle of Rousseau close by has been altogether 
ibandoned by the nursemaids and infants to 
vhom it belongs by prescriptive right in milder 
easons. You return to your hotel and sit on 
he stove for half-an-hour or so, to restore 
ensation to your frozen anatomy. If you are 



wise you will hasten up to St Cergues in the 
Jura or to Adelboden or the distant Grisons, 
where the rude blasts exhilarate and the tobog- 
gans race down the inclines. Geneva is but a 

For long it was the refrigerator of man's soul 
as well as body. The history of Geneva makes 
a curious chapter in European history. " Led 
on by the religious passion which Calvin let 
loose upon them," says Edouard Rod, " the 
Genevese, till then so jealous of their liberties, 
surrendered them to the most pitiless of tyrannies 
— that which refuses liberty even to the con- 
science, which imposes beliefs and enslaves th( 
thought." The citizens who had expelled th( 
bishop and revolted against the mild authorit} 
of Savoy, suffered a black-a-vised, sour-visagec 
fanatic to trample on their necks, to make theii 
lives a foretaste of the hell to which he pro 
claimed a vast proportion of them were ine\dt 
ably and through no fault of their own doomed 
John Calvin put out the lights in heaven an( 
earth. Man was devoted here below to hard 
ships which could not by any possibility redeen 
him from damnation in another life. Can om 
imagine a creed more absurd ! The magistral 
was advised by Calvin that he did not bear th 
sword in vain ; and that if he could not sav^ 
men's souls, he could chastise their bodies. Th 
consistory assumed the direction of the life o 


I/, ir. McLcUan. 



in a 


of a 

The Protestant Rome 

3very citizen. Every offence against Calvin's 
3wn code of morals was rigorously punished. 
A.dultery, it need hardly be said, was punished 
oy death. Actions nowhere condemned by the 
Bible^ which this sectary professed to take as 
I guide, were equally forbidden — card-playing, 
nusic, the wearing of plush breeches, eating or 
drinking beyond certain narrow limits. It was 
;he puritan's paradise and everybody else's hell. 
The most atrocious murders were perpetrated 
oy these fanatics. Bonivard's nominal wife, 
:orced upon him by the consistory, was sewn up 
n a sack and drowned, for an alleged infidelity, 
A^hich her husband would have approved ; 
icrvetus was burnt at the stake at Calvin's 
nstigation, for some theological quibble, on the 
Place de Champel. Here was bred that narrow 
Sabbatarianism, those grotesque conceptions of 
norality which have unfortunately infected so 
nany countries, not least of all our own. The 
;cy blast of Geneva has still power to wither 

In its own citadel the bad old standard has 
;one down for ever. If any respect at all is 
hown to the old traditions, it is rather because 
)f a sentimental patriotism than out of any 
relief in them. The Allied Powers in giving the 
city the neighbouring Catholic communes struck a 
ieath-blow at the old order. Ten years ago the 
3alvinists were found to be in a minority in their 
s 273 


own birthplace. The CathoHcs took a bitter 
revenge for the persecution of centuries. The 
disestablishment of the Calvinist Church, so long 
the State religion, was decreed by the Grand 
Council by sixty votes against twenty-three ; 
and the decree was ratified on an appeal to the 
people of the canton, on 30th June 1907, by a 
majority of eight hundred electors. The Pro- 
testant Rome fell within forty years of the 
Catholic Rome. 

The Genevese are free to enjoy themselves. 
And if they still show the timid restraint of the 
newly-enfranchised, at least they do all they 
can to make their town pleasant for the stranger. 
The canton swarms with foreigners — not merely 
with the French of the surrounding departments, 
and our old friends, the English resident abroad, 
but with Latin Americans, Russians, Bulgarians, 
Turks, Egyptians, and men of every hue and 
tongue. It is a favourite asylum of political 
refugees ; though here, as at Zurich, their im- 
munities have of late years been more and more 
limited. Yet here it was that the Young Turk 
Movement had its headquarters, here, probably, 
that the foul murder of Alexander and Draga of 
Servia was planned. The serpent of old Nile 
hatches plots by these cold, incongruous waters 
for the expulsion of the Khaki-clad oppressors. 
The Slavs — who include many dashing girl- 
graduates — frequent the university and at tea- 


The Protestant Rome 

time plan conspiracies in the patisseries of the 

Rue Mont Blanc. The Latin Americans include 

I a few retired presidents and mild-eyed dictators, 

■ but are, for the most part, lithe, simian-looking 
I lads, passing a few months at one of the numerous 
; international colleges. Half the slender revenues 
I of their petty states must go to defray the educa- 
tion of these students, whose precocity in worldly 
matters exceeds their expensively acquired learn- 
ing. The Latin father likes his son to sow his 
wild oats, but surely thirteen or fourteen years 

• of age is too early to begin. 

i A queer change this cold, insipid city must be 

■ for these lively westerners, from their scorching, 
highly coloured native land. The cloudy sum- 
mit of Mont Blanc can hardly dazzle the eyes 
which first opened on giant Chimborazo lifting 
a gleaming silver dome into a sky of eternal blue 

' — the Rhone might pass unnoticed by the new- 
comer from the Amazon or Orinoco. The belles 

I of Lima and Rio exceed in charm, I imagine, the 
nice young ladies of Geneva, who are, admits 
Edouard Rod, a little preachy ; though, he 
gallantly adds, no one minds a sermon from a 
pretty mouth. Well, Geneva may after all be a 
good introduction to the intenser life of Europe, 
as its social life seems to illustrate the transition 
of Protestantism into an enlightened worldli- 



Switzerland no longer hibernates. Time was 
when, as soon as the hotelkeeper had closed the 
door behind the last autumn tourist, he fell to 
counting his gains, and then went to bed — or the 
Riviera — till the return of spring. The guides 
became waiters or boatmen on some summer 
shore or kept shop in the towns. The Swiss that 
did not migrate with the swallows slumbered in 
their burrows like the marmots. Over the 
mountain gates of the Oberland, over Lucerne 
and Zermatt, might have been inscribed the 
familiar device, " Closed for the winter — to be 
re-opened next spring with increased attrac- 
tions." The foreigners disappeared, or were to 
be found only on the sheltered shores of Lake 
Lenian. The Swiss were left to themselves ; 
rather, each family was left to itself, for in the 
remoter highlands there was as little intercourse 
between neighbouring villagers as between the 
poles. Occasionally the snow-bound peasants 
yawned and opened sleepy eyes, and amused 
themselves in their seclusion with the pastime 
of carving, which has found some favour with 
idle young ladies elsewhere. In all the older 
chalets you can find examples of native skill, 


, ^ • * o « « 

' '5' 

Winter in the Alps 

fascinating in their vigour, and simplicity, and 
expressive of local tradition. 

Outside the towns and the snug villages the 
whole land was left to the stars and silence. A 
vast white mantle hung from the Alps and Jura, 
wrapping the valleys in its folds, covering the 
plain with its wide skirts. The torrents stood 
still, the glaciers were motionless. All was 
white save where the pines peeped out, crouch- 
ing beneath their heavy burden of snow, and 
where the great lakes expanded in sheets of 
glassy green. Over the passes toiled the little 
post-cart, and now and again the stillness was 
startlingly shattered by the shriek of the in- 
domitable railway engine, rushing south perhaps 
to the lands of the sun. Who would wish to be 
abroad in such a land — the realm of the Ice 
Maiden ? The Englishman sunned himself at 
Madeira or Cairo, or hugged the club fire. The 
Switzer stirred rarely from his ill-ventilated 
homestead and cursed the spell which arrested 
the flow of foreign gold. 

That is all changed now. The English dis- 
covered Switzerland in winter, and have wrapped 
themselves in its robes to find them warm and 
health-giving. Doctors invented the cold cure. 
Invalids were dragged from their stuffy firesides 
at Bournemouth and Mentone, and sent to get 
well or die at Davos. Then it was seen that 
Switzerland in winter was a capital playground 



for the athletic and the frisky. Here you had a 
weather which could make up its mind — where 
it froze hard and the ice did not thaw as you were 
in the act of putting on your skates. Winter 
sport ! the Swiss delightedly awakened to the 
commercial possibilities of snow and ice. More- 
over, here was a decoy for people of leisure and 
well-lined pockets, sure at this season of the 
year not to be defiled by contact with the slaves 
of shop and desk. Sanatoria sprang up like 
mushrooms — which in outward structure they 
vaguely resemble. Chalets were transformed 
into hotels, brand-new hotels were hastily run 
up — not always to the delight of the aesthetic 
traveller. Now it is quite the thing to go to 
Switzerland in the winter — of course anybody 
can go in the summer. 

Strangely enough, the new-comers had to teach 
the natives how to get about over their own 
snowfields. The Swiss seem to have been rather 
surprised by this unseasonable invasion, and 
wondered no doubt what on earth foreigners 
could find to do in those regions at such a time 
of year. The foreigners soon showed them. 
The rude toboggan was adapted by the ingenious 
English into a very handy instrument of amuse- 
ment. John Addington Symonds, who settled 
at Davos in 1880, began the evolution which has 
resulted in the bobsleigh and the development 
of a recognised sport. Then the ski was intro- 


Winter in the Alps 

duced from Norway. The Switzers threw them- 
selves with ardour into the great game. There 
was no longer a close time for mountains. Their 
highest slopes were now accessible. Valley was 
linked with valley. Over the vast snowfield 
of Switzerland, up and down the slopes of the 
Alps, men and women of all nations g'ide 
joyously and swiftly hither and thither. The 
once silent valleys resound with the laughter 
and cheers of merrymakers, the white mantle 
is everywhere dotted with black and swiftly 
moving figures. Winter is Switzerland's carnival 

It is not carnival, however, for that sad colony 
of consumptives at Davos, who may be seen, 
when the sun has gone down behind the Schatz- 
alp, shivering on the terrace of the sanatorium. 
There they sit or lie prone in their invalid chairs, 
a piteous company of all ages and nationalities, 
muffled up in wraps, and sighing perhaps for 
the balmy airs of Egypt and Madeira. No 
matter, they have faith in the dry air of the 
Grisons, and the longer their doctor exposes 
them to the biting cold the more do they believe 
in him. Yet they are glad enough when the 
signal comes for the return to the warm and 
lighted interior of the hotel. Poor people ! one 
thinks, why not let them make the best of what 
life remains to them in the warm airs of the 
south. Many a consumptive has lived long 



enough to let his infirmity heal itself, it is true, 
and while there is Hfe there is hope. 

The canton Orisons or Graubunden — the 
largest in Switzerland — was the first to find 
foreign gold beneath the snowdrifts. It is a 
savage mountainous region made up chiefly of 
long parallel valleys, some of which are the 
highest in central Europe. The twenty-four 
inhabitants of the hamlet of Juf live at a height 
of close on seven thousand feet above the 
sea. Dense forests clothe the mountain slopes, 
watered by the new-born currents of the Rhine, 
the Inn, and the affluents of the Adda. In these 
savage valleys lingers the old Romansch tongue, 
once spoken all over the canton. You still see 
the ancient Romansch houses with their low 
projecting roofs, their massive white walls with 
deep narrow windows like the " loops " of a 
castle. But everywhere now the German speech 
is heard, and the German's red roof and wooden 
chalet have become features of the land. 

In the heart of the country the far-famed Via 
Mala opens up a path from the valley of the 
Rhine into the basin of the Po. It is perhaps 
the finest of Swiss gorges. To your right, 
wooded cliffs confine the waters of the Hinter 
Rhein ; on the left a solid block of rock is 
crowned by the castle of Hohen Rhatien. We 
are here at the door of the defile. Three miles 
farther on, for an instant the walls recede, only 


; ' - '■• ' 

> • . " * 





to I 






Winter in the Alps 

to close in narrower than before. The road clings 
to the side of the naked rock rising higher and 
higher. A bridge spans with a single narrow 
arch the black, cold cliffs, for ever distilling the 
mountain's tears. Far below the Rhine roars 
and foams along the channel which its fury 
has scooped out. A stone dropped over the 
parapet takes five seconds to reach the floor of 
the abyss. 

" The valley of the Albula," says a traveller, 
*' reserves for us another surprise. Here as in 
the crossing of the St Gotthard, the railway has 
added to the charms of Alpine travel. The 
track passes and repasses in zigzags along the 
rocky or wooded wall, burrows in its flanks 
only to reappear after a spiral curve, immed- 
iately above the mouth of the first tunnel, 
traverses and retra verses the valley on light and 
aerial viaducts, climbs by drilling into the 
mountain, by hanging on to every projection, 
and leaving as it issues from each black 
cavern, the traveller bewildered — piercing the 
village of Bergiin disappearing on his left when 
he believed it to be to the right. At last, 
puffing, spitting, smoking, the locomotive out 
of breath reaches Preda, 1800 metres above 
the sea, a charming station, tranquil and 
rustic. . . . We are at the entrance of the great 
Albula tunnel, between two peaks with great 

white patches which dominate all the upper 


Switzerland < 

valley. Six kilometres, nearly on the level and ( 

at the end of ten minutes the train issues forth i 

at Spinas in a different world — the Upper t 

Engadine — ' where the bears come from.' " 2 

The history of this strange wild region in the i 

very core of Europe has been told by the his- i 

torian of the Renaissance as he alone could tell t 

it. Its outlines may be worth reciting here, t 

now that the canton has became the chosen home t 

of the modern and up-to-date tourist. Origin- I 

ally Celts, the people were Romanised by the I 

Romans and less thoroughly Germanised by n 

the Franks. The real ruler of the district in the tl 

early Middle Ages was the Bishop of Coire, who F 

allied himself with the Hapsburgs in the year ' j 

1 170. To curb his power, two hundred years ai 

later, his episcopal town and several com- bi 

munities in the Engadine and Val Bregaglia tl 

formed the League of God's House ; which his tt 

lordship presently found it prudent to join him- 01 

self. Soon after (in 1395) the Abbot of Disentis ts 

and the barons of the upper Vorder Rhein jj 

valley, formed the Counts' or Upper League, b; 

which ultimately gave the whole canton its fa 

name. In 1456 the subjects of the extinct b; 

counts of Toggenburg formed themselves into I I 

ten bailiwicks, federated under the name of the , ^ 

League of the Ten Jurisdictions. In 1450 this ^ 

league allied itself with the Gotteshausbund ^ 

of Coire, and twenty-one years later with the . Jj 


Winter in the Alps 

Oberbund. These two associations entered into 
an alliance with the Swiss confederation, and 
together they defeated the mighty Maximilian 
and forced him to acknowledge the practical 
independence of the Grisons. When the re- 
ligious troubles began, the Oberbund held fast 
to the old faith (Disentis is Catholic to this day) , 
but the rest of the country turned Protestant, 
to the undoing, of course, of the bishop. The 
beginning of the sixteenth century was for the 
leagues as for their Swiss allies a period of 
military adventure. In 15 12 they conquered 
the beautiful Valtellina and held it down to the 
French Revolution. Then ensued a struggle for 
mastery between the Engadine house of Planta 
and the Bregaglia house of Salis. In the war 
betv/een France and Spain, the Count of Fuentes, 
the Spanish Governor of the Milanese, secured 
the friendship of the Plantas who triumphed 
over the rival faction. But in 1618 a Protes- 
tant minister named Jenatsch headed a revolt 
against the dominant house, and procured their 
banishment to Thusis — which was not very 
far after all. The Protestants used their victory 
badly, especially towards the Catholics of the 
Valtellina. In July 1620, the exasperated 
peasants rose, and, assisted by Roburtelli, a 
kinsman of the Plantas, massacred five hun- 
dred Protestant Grisons. The Spaniards and 
Imperialists at once overran the valley, and 



defeated the army of the Protestant cantons 
at Tirano. The CathoHc confederates did not 
hesitate to send armed assistance to the rebels 
of the valley. Now followed a desperate inter- 
necine warfare. Pompey Planta was attached 
and killed by Jenatsch and the Protestants of 
the Engadine. The next year the tide turned. 
Jenatsch fled from the country ; returned again, 
was again driven out, and in 1629 saw the three 
leagues conquered by an Imperial army. 

In 1635 the irrepressible pastor reappeared at 
the head of a French force. The Spaniards 
and Austrians were expelled ; but when the 
French refused to confirm the leagues in the 
possession of their subject lands, Jenatsch 
changed sides, called in the Spaniards and drove 
his late allies out of the country. 

The strife of factions was not yet at an end. 
Rudolf Planta, a son of the murdered Pompey, 
struck down Jenatsch at a festival in 1639. 
Very slowly tranquillity was restored. The 
Valtellina was handed back to the leagues, but 
the liberties of the Catholic inhabitants were 
guaranteed. Spain reserved the right to send 
troops over the passes of the Orisons, and 
Austria surrendered all her feudal rights in 
the country at the peace of Westphalia. The 
independence of the Graubunden was recognised 
at the same time as that of Switzerland ; but 
it was not till 1799 that the three leagues were 


Winter in the Alps 

amalgamated and at the same time absorbed 
into the Helvetic Republic. 

The truculent Jenatsch is buried at the 
cathedral of Coire, which, by the way, is dedi- 
cated to a mythical British king, St Lucius. It 
is an interesting church, dating in part from the 
eighth century. The chapel of the bishop's 
palace is one of the oldest places of Christian 
worship, and is embedded in a Roman tower. 
Till the year 1806 the Episcopal buildings still 
formed part of the Holy Roman Empire, and the 
Catholic portion of the town was walled off from 
the Protestant and closed by gates at nightfall. 
Since those days, the capital of the Orisons has 
lost a good deal of its interest for strangers, 
though it should be remembered as the birth- 
place of one of the few eminent Swiss painters, 
Angelica Kaufmann. The valley of the Vorder 
Rhein is rather neglected by visitors to the 
canton, though the scenery is beautiful and, 
by reason of the numerous castles, romantically 
picturesque. We pass the castle of Rhazuns, 
of which Mr Coolidge has recorded the extra- 
ordinary history. Having long been the centre 
of a powerful lordship, it was mortgaged in 1475 
or 1490 to the lord of Marmols, who exchanged 
it in 1497 with Maximilian of Austria for another 
domain in Suabia. In 1586 the Hapsburgs sold 
the lordship to the Plantas, but bought it back 
.again in 1695, to the great disgust of the Rhaetian 



leagues. By the treaty of Pressburg, in 1805, 
Austria ceded Rhazuns to Bavaria — which also 
took the Tyrol — but four years later Bavaria 
ceded it to France. In 18 15 Austria agreed to 
surrender the lordship to the newly-formed 
canton, but did not actually do so till 1819. 

Tarasp, the other Austrian " enclave," came 
into the possession of the Hapsburgs in 1464, 
and was sold in 1652 to the Dietrichsteins, who 
held it till 1801. Like Rhazuns it was acquired by 
France, and not annexed to the Grisons till 1809. 

Ilanz, twenty miles above Coire, was the 
capital of the Oberbund. Eleven miles farther 
on, at the entrance to the village of Trons, is 
the sycamore under which the oath was ad- 
ministered to the members of the league by the 
abbot of Disentis. The abbey still stands on a 
terrace above Disentis, where two torrents meet 
to form the Vorder Rhein. It was founded, they 
say, by an Irishman in the year 614, and must 
have been the beginning of civilisation in this 
wild region. It presents an imposing air but 
it is not the venerable fabric raised by the 
missionary, for that was burnt long ago ; and 
it has now been converted into a college and a 
technical institute. From Disentis it is eighteen 
miles over the fortified Oberalp Pass to Ander- 
matt in the canton Uri. 

The Grisons still holds its own as the principal 
winter resort in Switzerland for those in search 



Winter in the Alps 

of health and of the rudest forms of amusement. 
Davos had been long " indicated " by the 
faculty as a sanatorium, before the lusty tribe 
of skaters and skiers poured into the valley and 
warmed the hearts of the invalids with their 
jollity and vigour. The English skating club 
was founded at Davos in 1889. Since that time 
the little town has grown beyond recognition ; 
it grew, as Addington Symonds tells us, under his 
. very eyes. That great writer could not fairly 
complain now that life there was monotonous. 
The village has taken on much of the character 
of Homburg or Vichy. It has splendid hotels 
and shops, and a first-rate theatre. It has 
three rinks, covering altogether no less than 
35,000 square yards. One of these is set 
apart for members of the English Davos Club 
(English style) and for expert skaters in the 
international style. A third rink is for curlers. 
There are three toboggan runs, each about two 
miles long. These are all served by railway. 
Your toboggan is taken by the funicular to the 
[summit of the Schatzalp, and thence you have 
|the finest crooked snow run down in the world. 
It was on the famous Davos-Klosters run that 
toboggan races were instituted in Switzerland, 
under the patronage of Symonds, with the old- 
fashioned Swiss machine. The course, like the 
Schatzalp, is two miles long and stiU remains an 

almost ideal run. 



The presence of the invalids at Davos has un- 
doubtedly contributed to the rise of the resorts 
in the Engadine, that strange convex valley 
where it is winter nine months in the year and 
three months cold weather. While Pontresina 
seems to score as a summer resort, St Moritz 
grows yearly in popularity with the devotees 
of ski and toboggan. The scenery, as everyone 
now knows, is wild, gloomy, and almost Scan- 
dinavian in character. The town — it is a 
village no longer — of St Moritz stands 6090 feet 
above sea-level and 148 feet above the Maloja 
Pass. In such surroundings there is plenty to 
stir the Viking blood, which must be possessed 
in considerable quantities by other visitors than 
the English, to judge from the languages heard 
on the rink. I suspect that the place attracts a 
good many people not much interested in the 
sports. Two o'clock tea on the terraces of the 
hotels allows an opportunity for the exhibition 
of the " latest cry " in costumes in a milieu 
apparently designed for eskimos and polar 

The tide of fashion has in fact been largely 
diverted of recent years from Nice and Cairo to 
these snow-bound wildernesses. Naturally the 
rest of Switzerland is on the alert and eager to 
share the good fortune of the largest canton. 
Winter sport centres are springing up with 
amazing rapidity all over the country, thanks 


• • • 








Winter in the Alps 

largely to the intelligent co-operation of the 
Swiss railways and hotel people with Cook's and 
Sir Henry Lunn. In the Bernese Oberland, 
Grindelwald, Miirren, Wengen, and Adelboden 
attract visitors ; St Cergues in the Jura, Leuker- 
bad in Valais, Andermatt in Uri, and the resorts 
above Montreux must be added to the list. Be- 
fore long every place which has a summer 
clientele will open its doors for the winter guest. 

" Heigh-ho ! the holly 
This life is most jolly " 

lis the unanimous verdict of those that try 
'Switzerland at its most inclement season. The 
winter sportsman is infected with the enthusiasm 
of the Alpine climber. Young and old, the hale 
and the halt, take on a new lease of life. We 
once met an old fellow of seventy and odd who 
had ski-ed over the Albula Pass and had wound 
up by the four-miles bob-run from St Moritz to 
Bergijn, and he had the heart of a boy intoxi- 
cated with a couple of days' open life in frosty 
air. Everywhere it is the same story during a 
winter holiday in Switzerland. Everyone is in a 
genial, devil-may-care mood, with all the worries 
of life forgotten. For some weeks at least the 
detachment is complete and final. For we are 
right in the heart of nature, who is one hour 
smiling, sunny and exquisitely beautiful, and 
the next, hard and sinister and cold. 

T 289 


Dulce est desipere in loco. It does no one any 
harm to become a healthy animal at times. The 
poets who discovered mountains in the nine- 
teenth century did their best to ruin them for 
ever. Instead of taking them on their merits 
they strewed them over with capitals, they de- 
graded them into habitations for unseen Pre- 
sences all flaunting in trailing skirts of sunset 
verbiage. They wedded them to commonplace 
moralisings ; they bid us bow our heads, not 
before the beauty of the mountains but before an 
intangible Something " far more deeply inter- 
fused." But with the advent of the ski and the 
winter sportsman, a mountain has again become 
a mountain and none the less beautiful because 
its sparkling stretches of snow allure earth-bom 
mortals instead of the inhabitants of some new 

Like the excellent captain of the Mantel 
piece, the hotel proprietors and sports com-; 
mittees try every reasonable plan to make their 
visitors happy. Each centre naturally develops 
its own tradition. At one place it will be 
mainly English, at another German, at another] 
Swiss, at yet another cosmopolitan. We English) 
appear to have the greatest faculty for amusingj 
ourselves. The old myth that we are a reserved] 
people, hide-bound by etiquette and convention,; 
is not likely to live in Switzerland. For that 
matter it is not easy to get away from one's 

290 f| 


Winter in the Alps 

fellow-guests in their snow-bound valleys, so 
there is a virtual necessity to make oneself 
agreeable. I have before me the programme 
of entertainments at one of these resorts. From 
i8th December to 31st January there is an 
uninterrupted succession of dances, concerts, 
games, and amateur theatricals. Fancy - dress 
balls on the ice are very jolly — more so, I think, 
than the amateur theatricals, which are generally 
an advertisement of the goodwill rather than of 
the talent of the actors. At Christmas and the 
New Year the commune often comes forward 
to entertain the visitors. The hotel proprietor, 
.it should be remembered, in nine cases out of 
ten, is also the mayor. You have an opportunity 
of dancing (or trying to) with the buxom and 
not very beautiful peasant maidens and of 
proving yourself to be a very affable and con- 
descending personage. Unfortunately such con- 
descension is not as much appreciated among 
- these rude Helvetians as it would be in a Kentish 
li village. 

'' By day the sun shines with the power of 
J' summer, revealing the sharp contours and 
1 subtle colour-blurs — mauve, rosy pink, and 
[i purple — of the white landscape. It is not for 
t long. According to the position of the valley 
^and the length of the shadow, you can seldom 
& count on more than three or seven hours' sun- 
ip shine. You follow the sun as far as you can 



and then seek the fireUght of your inn. The 
invaUds remain a Httle longer perhaps abroad. 

You go out from among the dancers (a rash 
thing to do) and behold the moon at the full 
riding through a cloudless blue sky. To see this 
from one of the heights — preferably above the 
tree line — with the pallid ranges rising in un- 
ending series before you, is to revel in a scene of 
almost unearthly beauty. For a moment you 
might fancy you stood above the mountains of 
the moon herself. 





. Of all the sports skating is perhaps the most 
, popular and the most widely practised. Here 
the English are handicapped. For, living as we 
do in a climate that but once in a few years 
[deigns to manufacture ice for our amusement, 
we have little opportunity for practising the 
sport. The attainments of the ordinary man 
are mediocre, and though most of us can manage 
to hobble along, few of our countrymen are 
really fine skaters. 

This chapter is not intended as a complete 
hand-book of athletics. Otherwise I might 
write learnedly of the technical differences 
between the two styles of skating in vogue in 
Switzerland — the restrained, severe English and 
the more flexible Continental styles — which are 
now disputing pride of place. Then there are 
the games, such as hockey and bandy, in which 
proficient skaters delight to show their skill. 

Wherever there is a hotel or village of any con- 
sequence there is a rink. Here, on the payment 
of a few francs for the week or month, you may 
take your place among the crowd of novices, 
experts, and " half-and-halfs," whose skates go 
whisthng over the ice. Day after day you will 



see the same familiar figures. Some are labori- 
ously acquiring their edges. Others, having got 
them, after weeks of patient plodding, are swirl- 
ing round in triumphant pride, perfecting their 
first real figures. 

Your true skater is born. It is true that he 
must be made as well, and the course of training 
is long and arduous. But some there are with- 
out either the nerve or the strength of ankle to 
acquire the smooth and swaying grace and 
dexterity of twist that distinguish the really 
first-class skater. These form the drifters of the 
rinks who crowd round their more skilful friends 
and provide that chorus of admiration so neces- 
sary as a background for deeds of daring. 

In the whole world of winter sport there is 

nothing more delightful from the spectacular 

point of view than a good rink on a sunny day, 

hedged in by mountains whose sharp outlines, 

rounded and softened by dazzling billows of 

snow, are silhouetted against a sapphire sky. A 

thousand rainbow colours flash from the crystals 

of the snow. The air is clear and lucent, with a 

tang that sends the red blood coursing through 

the veins. In this little corner of the world you 

drink the wine of life with youth and laughter 

bubbling at the brim. Old age grows young 

again ; sickness glows into health. It is the 

carnival of healthy life — touched with the powder 

puff. For an orchestra plays sinuous Viennese 


• • • . •• • ' • 

. " . t . ,■ 



Winter Sports 

waltzes to which the skaters ghde and sway with 
a display of pretty ankles above glittering blades. 
Or, if you find the dance and music sophisticated, 
a flight of siskins racing in their migration 
through the valley will probably come to rest 
on the branches of the pine-trees, and, pouring 
out their little souls in the sunshine, will sing you 
a chorus of silvery notes that mingles with the 
ringing of the skates. For a brief hour spring 
and summer have joined hands with winter ; 
but soon the sun will sink behind the mountains, 
a bitter wind will whistle up the valley, and you 
will be driven indoors to seek the gaiety and 
comfort of the hotel. 

Skating has a powerful rival in the recently 
perfected sport of ski-ing, that bids fair to oust 
it from its premier place. The appeal of the ski 
is much wider than that of the skate. Everyone 
who has tried it and, surviving the accidents of 
his noviciate, has become even moderately pro- 
ficient, falls a victim to its inexhaustible charms 
and possibilities. 

The ski has opened up a new world of moun- 
taineering to the adventurous spirit. The upper 
slopes in winter were once impossible to achieve, 
but now passes, peaks and valleys over ten 
thousand feet in height are constantly crossed 
by the dauntless ski-runner, while even for 
those who are by no means past masters in the 
art, the lower passes provide exhilarating runs, 



neither very hazardous nor difficult. But let 
me sound a note of warning to the novice. 
Though ski-ing is no more dangerous than other 
sports, broken ankles await the foolhardy and 
the ill-prepared. Look well to your outfit. 
Avoid rough woollen outer garments as you 
would the smoke-room bore ; see that your 
skis are thoroughly sound, and consult a book 
or an expert runner as regards foot-binding. 

And, secondly, remember that many of the 
German visitors whose daring you admire prac- 
tise ski-ing for many months in the year. If, 
like most British visitors, you can only give a 
few weeks to the sport, their feats are not for 
you. Do not attempt running on the upper 
slopes unless there are some experts in your 
party, or else take a guide. Much time and 
trouble would be saved if the inexperienced in- 
mates of the hotels would join together, and for 
a week at least engage a guide instructor. 

And now, having loaded you with good advice, 
I invite you to join our party assembling at 
Wolfgang for the run over Parsen. 

Here the Davos train empties its load of ski- 
pilgrims, a jolly band, eager, high-spirited, all 
bent on reaching the Davos Ski Hutte in time 
for the first brew of broth with its accompanying 
plates of sausage and sauerkraut. 

We set out, a long thin blue serge line winding 
our way by judicious zigzags up the great spin. 


Winter Sports 

I On we go and ever on, up and up across fields of 
snow, over the mountain shoulder. At last we 
reach the hut. 

Some have been before us, have fed and gone. 
Others come straggling in by twos and threes, 
after three, four or five hours of arduous climb- 
ing. Some of the novices are almost too ex- 
hausted to try the descent ; the more seasoned 
are bubbling over with energy and life. There are 
tall, strong German girls, rucksack on back, with 
fair faces aglow and shapely limbs cased in smart 
knickerbockers of blue serge. Their English 
sisters, with modesty bred of inexperience, wear 
skirts and woollen jerseys. The rough wool, to 
which the snow adheres, and the hampering folds 
of tweed or serge will come in a little later for 
much bad language, expressed or inarticulate. 
Next time they will be replaced by a more 
serviceable garb, and their wearers will have 
learnt how to tie skins to their skis to facilitate 
the upward climb. 

The compact body of climbers has become a 
scattered host. Some, eager to gild their laurels, 
set off for a farther climb. They branch off to 
the left over the shoulder of the mountain. In 
a couple of hours they will stand on the summit 
of the Furka, looking down on an expanse of 
lesser peaks, a great white sea of frozen billows 
stretching into iUimitable space. The rest of us, 
less ambitious, push on for another hour to the 



head of the pass, where the view, if not so subUme, 
is yet one of entrancing beauty. For a time we 
rest, crouching together behind the cairn, for the 
wind is icy cold in these sohtudes even though 
the sun is blazing overhead. We fling stones 
to swell the rude little landmark in the centre 
of the pass. Then when the sun begins to sink 
and the first tints of pearly blue steal over the 
lower valleys announcing the approach of winter 
twilight, the word is given to start. 

It is dangerous running for the first mile and 
we have to proceed with care, for the wind has 
swept away the snow in gusts, leaving great 
projecting points of bare and jagged rock. To 
break your ski at this stage is to spoil the joy of 
the whole descent. 

At last we are out of it, on to the smooth fields 
of virgin snow. The slope is long and gradual. 
Faster and faster we go, gathering speed with 
every yard ; the air whistles past your ears ; the 
snow flies up into your nostrils ; inside you the 
blood is singing — faster and faster ! 

The first run is achieved with credit, but we 
have still many a difficult gully to cross and 
many a tortuous bit of course to steer. There 
are ignominious falls when suddenly you find 
yourself half buried in the snow. But up you 
get and shake yourself — it is all so breathlessly 
exciting you hardly notice the discomfort — and 
in an hour's time you glide gracefully into the 


Winter Sports 

valley just as the Alpine night is falling. At 
: Kublis we all forgather, and the train takes us 
back to Klosters over the last stage of our 
journey. We have negotiated one of the most 
famous runs in Switzerland, known alike for its 
length and safety. We have met with no acci- 
dents worth speaking of. We are soaked to the 
skin. There are but fifteen minutes to dress. 
We thank the gods for the good dinner that is 
coming ; and may the souls of the Telemark 
peasants, who first invented skis, find rest. And 
may we all meet them ski-ing in the Elysian fields ! 
Running the ski close in popular favour is the 
bobsleigh. The humble toboggan was its parent. 
But the toboggan of the peasant would hardly 
I recognise its sophisticated and highly complex 
offspring. The " skeleton " is built on the same 
lines and adapted especially for speed on the 
artificially formed ice-runs. In bobbing is found 
the concentrated excitement of all the winter 
sports both in regard to time and speed. For 
whereas in skating or ski-ing each has only 
himself to consider, here the responsibility is 
common to half-a-dozen people. You may feel 
quite confident of your own skill, but you can 
never entirely trust your neighbour's. Through 
stupidity or accident he may upset you at a 
critical point ; or, more humiliating still, it 
may be through you that misfortune overtakes 

your party. 



But in Switzerland we are greatly daring, and 
this element of uncertainty adds a charm to an 
already sufficiently exciting pastime. Bobbing 
numbers its devotees by the thousand. It is 
indeed a beautiful sight to see an evenly- 
balanced crew, working in perfect unison, grace- 
fully negotiate a corner, or glide over a difficult 
patch of ground. But more than any other 
sport it requires sure judgment, tense muscles, 
a steady hand and eye in the steersman of this 
tiny craft and an intimate knowledge of the 
course on the part of the brakesman, before 5^ou 
can hope to land your crew triumphantly at the 
winning post after a four-mile race even a few 
seconds ahead of your rivals. 

And then pure, gambling, speculating chance 
enters so largely into this exciting sport. A 
despicable woodcutter's sleigh encountered half 
way may upset all your calculations — and in- 
cidentally you at the same time ! A novice 
shooting across your track may bring catastrophe 
to both. A badly turned corner may suddenly 
slow you down when going full speed ahead. 
You may land on your head or your heels, or be 
suddenly buried in a drift of snow. But no one 
can resist the fascinations of the bobsleigh, and 
seventeen and seventy alike love to crowd into 
a glorious six minutes' run enough thrills and 
sensations to last a lifetime. 

The skeleton on an ice-run is rather different, 




Winter Sports 

for here you work single-handed and each takes 
his own responsibihty. Consequently we hear 
less of stupidity and carelessness. Our neigh- 
; hours' characters — and our own — are less univer- 
sally blackened. 

These are the three chief sports of the winter 
tourist centres. There are other and lesser ones ; 
there is curling, the "roarin"' game at which 
Scotsmen love to congregate. There are hockey 
and bandy for proficient skaters. And last of 
all comes, " tailing," beloved of the middle-aged 
and comfortable. As a sport this ranks lowest, 
for it depends entirely on the parts and merits 
of your horse. The jolly tourist who " tails " 
ni behind his animal has nothing else to do but 
follow where equine sagacity leads him. 

But still in the midst of all these pastimes 
some days remain a blank. For sometimes the 
snow is too new for ski-ing, sometimes the rinks 
are too soft for skating. Then you are thrown 
back on the scenery and the distractions of the 
II hotel. What is wanted is some public bene- 
i factor to invent a new sport that shall be entirely 
independent of climatic conditions. Then per- 
haps Messrs Cook will raise a monument to his 
memory, and tourists in many tongues will call 
him blessed. 





A.AR, river, 222, 238 

Aidelboden, 233 

i'Aft'ry, Comte, 152 

-M., 157 

i'Albergeuse, Luce, 79 

A.lbula, 281 

Aletsch glacier, 95 

Altdorf, 188 

A.lzellen, 198 

Amadeus VI., Count, 86 

I'Anniviers, Val, 97 

Appenzell, 174, 267 

Arenenberg, 266 

i'Armeis, Jeanne, 70 

Aiustria, Duke Leopold of, 136 

A.uvernier, 35 

•Bachman, Baron de, 152 

Baden, 1 12-126 

Bale, 174, 260 

Barry (St Bernard dog), loo, loi 

Bassompierre, Marshal de, 149 

Baumgartner, Catherine, 69 

Bears, 12 

Beatenberg, St, 231 

Beatus, St, 231 

Beckenried, 200 

Bellay, Edouard of, 86 

Berchtold of Zahringen, 2 

Bernard, St, loi 

— dogs of St, 100-105 

— Pass of St, lOl et seq. 
Berne, i et seq., 151 
Beromiinster, Abbey of, 264 
Berthier, Marshal, 27 
Besler, 189 

Bobsleigh, 299 

Bodensee, 267 

Bonille, Marquis de, 150 

Bonivard, Fran9ois, 63 et seq. 

Bonstetten, 9 

Bovy, Daniel, 75 

Bracciolini, Poggio, 118 et seq. 

Bras-de-fer, Ulric, 75 

Brieg, 85, 93 

Brienz, Lake of, 236 


Brugg, 264 
Brunnen, 159, 186 
Buochs, 172 
Burgenstock, 171 
Burgi, 164 

Calvin, 270, 272 

Cartigny, manor of, 65, 67 

Cellini, Benvenuto, 242 

Cent Suisses, 148, 151, 152 

Chalamala, Girard, 76-78 

Charles VIIL, 148 

Charles X., 155 

Charles the Bold, 196 

Chillon, castle of, 61-72 

— Prisoner of {^see Bonivard 

Cloudesly, William, 194 
Constance, Conrad, Bishop of, 211 
Coire, 284 

Coryate, Thomas, 125 
Courtavonne, Catherine de, 70, 71, 


Davel, Major, 47 
Davos, 277, 287 
Drachenried, 182 
Durler, Captain de, 151 

Eberhard, 211 

Echallens, 49 

Eiger, 221 

Einsiedeln, 201, 204-219 

Engadine, 282, 288 

Elizabeth, Empress, 264 

Elm, 254 

Etzel, Mount, 209 

Farel, 26, 45 
Ferdinand IL, 159 
Fluelen, 18S 
Francis L, 149 
Frederick II., Emperor, 197 
French, retreat of, army, 31 
Freudenberger, Uriel, 193 
Fribourg, 177 




Gemmi Pass, 233 
Geneva, 66 et seq., 127, 269 

— Lake of, 50 
Gersau, 184 et seq. 
Gessler, 190, 192, 198 
Gessner, Conrad, 169 
Giessbach falls, 236 
Glarnisch, 245 

Glarus (canton) 241 et seq, 

— (town) 247 
Glion, 60 
Gottlieben, 266 
Grandson, 24 
Gregory XVI., 156 
Grimsel Pass, 234 
Grindelwald, 226, 227 
Grisons, 280 
Grossthal, 241 
Gruyere, 73-82 

— Count Antoine of, 76 

— Count Michel of, 80 

— Count Rodolphe of, 76 
Gruyerius, 74 

Hapsburg, castle of, 264 
Haslithal, Count of, 217, 239 
Hausstock, 255 
Heidenloch, 252 
Helvetic confederation, 181 
d'Herens, Val, 98 
Hofbriicke, 140 
Hoheweg, 221 
Hohle Gasse, 192 
Hungary, Queen of, 264 
Hlittenort, 181 

Imboden, Joseph of St Nicholas, 

Interlaken, 221 

Jenatsch, 283 
Jungfrau, 221 et seq. 

Kappel, 185 
Kappelbriicke, 141 
Kehrsiten, iSi 
Kiburg, Count of, 4 

— castle of, 266 
Klausen Pass, 251 
Kleinthal, 241, 252 
Klonthal, 241, 249 
Klosterli, 165 
Kussnach, 187 

Laharpe, 48 

Lake dwellings, 35-39 

Lallenkonig, 260 

Landenberg, 197 

Latour, General de, 157 

Laufen, battle of, 5 

Lausanne, 51 

Lauterbrunnen, 225 

Leissigen, 230 

Lenzburg castle, 264 

Leopold of Austria, 201 

Leuk, 85 

Leukerbad, 235 

Liegnitz, Duke Frederick of, 80 

Lontsch river, 247 

Louis XL, 148 

Louis XHL, 149 

Louis XVHL, 152, 153 

Lucerne, 127-145, 183 

— Lion of, 146 et seq. 

Lutschine, 225 

Maggiore, Lago, 183 
Maillardoz, Lt.-Col. de, 151 
Marjelen See, 94 et seq. 
Majoria, castle of, 91 
Martigny, battle of, 84 
Martinsloch, 255 
Matterhorn, 84 
Meglingen, 142 
St Meinrad, 207 
Meiringen, 238 
Milan, Duke of, 148 
Mollis, 247 
Monch, 221 
Monte Rosa, 84 
Montreux, 59 
Moral, 25 

Morgarten, battle of, 201 
Myten Stein, 200 

Nafels, 246 

Napoleon, 89, 90, 152, 1 53 
Netstall, 247 
Neuchatel, 20, 256 
Nidwalden, 174 

Oberland, Bernese, 220-240 
Obwalden, 174 

Pestai.OZZI, Heinrich, 182 
Pius IX., Heinrich, 156 
Pilate, Pontius, 167 



'ilatus, Mount, i66 et seq. 
'fyffer Ludwig, 139 

Uron, 85-S7 

leding, 155 

leichenau, monastery of, 209 

Iheinfelden, 259 

Lhodanic Republic {see Valais) 

liedmatten, de, 159 

Ugi, 164-166 

lolls Regiment, 152 

lomfahrt, 138 

vudegg, Rudolf von, 214 

iugen, 224 

lutli, 187, 200 

lACHSELN, 179 

>arnen, 197 

iavoy, Count of, 86, 87 

ichaflfhausen, 267 

ichauenbourg, General, 181 

Icheidbach, 251 

icheidegg, Little, 226 

Schinner, Matthew, 92 

ichomberg. Marshal, 147 

Ichwanden, Johannes, Baron von, 

Schwyz, 181, 212 et seq. 
>empach, battle of, 172-173 
;ierre, 85, 91 
)igmund. Emperor, 185 
^igrist, 159 
jimplon, 83, 89, 258 
iion, 85, 91 
jixtus IV., 156 
ski-ing, 278, 295 
ioleure, 177 
5onderbund, 28 
?piez, 230 
^preuerbriicke, 141 
itachelberg, 250 
italder, Philip, 182 
3tans, 171 

— convention of, 177 
5tanserhorn, 171 
^tansstad, 172 
Stauffacher, 190, 198 

— Werner, 214 
5teiner, 198 

Stockalper Gaspard, 93 
Supersaxo, George, 92 

— Walther, 87 
Sursee, 264 

Swiss Guards, 146 et seq. 
Symonds J. A., 278 

Tellsplatte, 192 
Tell, William, 188 et seq. 
Thun, 4, 229 

— Lake of, 228 
Toggenburg, Graf von, 217 
Tourbillon, castle of, 91 
Tschingelhorn, 254 

Unspunnen, 224 
Unterwalden, 174 
Uri, 181, 188 

Valais, 83-99 
Valeria, castle of, 91 
Vaud, 42 
Vevey, 57 

Vignerons, fete des, 57 
Villeneuve, 60 
Visp, 85, 93 
Vufflens, 55 

Wala, Count, 62 
Wallenstadt, Lake, 241 
Weggis, 184 
Weissenberg, 253 
Wengern Aip, 226 
Wetterhorn, 227 
"White Book," 190 
Wiggis, 247 
Winkelried, Arnold von, 172 

Eric 173 

Wisling, Dorothea, 179 
Wunnenberg, Rudolf von, 217 
Wyl, 175 
Wyrich, von, 182 


Zurich, 113, 114. 261 
Zwingli, Ulrich, 248 




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